DUBUQUE, Iowa — A Dubuque mom believes gang members severely beat her son, who has autism. She says it happened in a crowded city park and she’s even more upset that no one stepped in to help him.
The Dubuque Police Department is investigating whether the attack was gang-related. However, officers say it wasn’t a random attack.
Jennifer Beaver says a group of young men threatened her 18-year-old son on a basketball court in Comisky Park on Tuesday evening. She thinks they targeted him because of his friends.
Beaver said, “He says the next thing he knew is he heard people running up behind him and the first punch came to the back of his jaw and he said he felt his jaw break. So he put his arms up to protect his face and they kept hitting him and more kids jumped in on it.”
Beaver says her son had surgery on his broken jaw. She says the most disturbing part is the attack happened in the crowded park, but no one called police.
“Nobody stepped in,” said Beaver. “They all turned their heads and nothing was done.” Police have not made any arrests.
North End Neighborhood Association member Audrey Morey lives near the park.
The association held a meeting Wednesday to talk about the attack.
“There was a concern about somebody might not want to put that phone up to their ear for fear that there would be retaliation,” said Morey.
Morey says the association plans to encourage bystanders to speak up when they see violence.
That’s exactly what Beaver wants.
“There needs to be more police officers involved. There needs to be more parents involved. There needs to be more of the community instead of just labeling it as a bad park, “said Beaver.
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