Authorities: Assault near University of Iowa campus not hate crime

Published: May. 16, 2016 at 11:07 PM CDT
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Iowa City Police and the Johnson County Attorney's Office have determined an assault near the University of Iowa campus late last month was not a hate crime.

Nineteen-year-old Marcus Owens needed hospital treatment after he said originally three white men attacked him, yelling racial slurs. The incident happened on April 30th in the 200 block of Iowa Avenue.

Owens and his family issued a public apology late Monday night.

"Marcus Owens and the entire Owens family would like to issue their deepest apologies to Marcus’s friends, the Iowa City community, the University of Iowa, and the Iowa City Police Department for the misunderstandings and anxiety stemming from Marcus’s involvement in a violent incident," the statement said.

"Upon learning more details of the case, and while racial slurs served to fuel the violence, Marcus now knows that his account of events was inconsistent with police findings, in part due to alcohol being involved, his embarrassment at his behavior, as well as the injuries he sustained."

During an investigation, police found the original altercation stemmed from a disagreement between two students who are members of fraternities. Police said witnesses told them one individual used a racial slur during a follow-up altercation.

"All evidence gathered supports that this was an isolated incident that stemmed from an ongoing disagreement," police said in the news release.

Police said witnesses told them Owens made comments being concerned about his injuries sustained during the altercations and how he was going to inform his family.

Iowa City police has referred the case to the Johnson County Attorney's Office but anticipate no charges in the case.

Police are expected to hold a news conference at city hall Tuesday.