Christin Howard (Facebook)
Detroit — A teen accused of beating up a gay man attending the Motor City Pride festival in downtown Detroit earlier this month has been issued assault charges. He was also brought up on charges Saturday for an unrelated alleged carjacking that occurred the same day.
The 16-year-old is accused of being one of a group of five to eight men who attacked Christin Howard along the RiverWalk on June 8. Howard, 20, is an openly gay man who was celebrating at the Pride Festival. He attempted to defend himself, even taking one of the assailants to the ground until he was overcome by the group, according to video captured and posted to YouTube.
The attackers continued to punch and kick him while he was on all fours.
On Saturday, the teen, joined by his mother, appeared before Referee Mona Youssef in the Wayne County Juvenile Court, where he has been detained.
The teen has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm and aggravated assault.
“In this case, the teen was taking away someone’s dignity,” assistant prosecutor Jeff Plymale said. “Taking away someone’s right to be a regular citizen here in Detroit, Michigan.”
According to the assistant prosecutor, the teen shouted gay slurs at Howard before attacking him and degraded him for having “a long curly weave.”
“He shouldn’t have had to be physically beaten down in public,” Plymale said.
The teen’s appointed lawyer, Jeffrey Schwartz, argued the teen was just following the group.
“From what I understand, he was the youngest involved and made a bad decision to follow some adults there,” Schwartz told Youssef.
She set bond at $20,000 or 10 percent cash surety. The teen also would be required to wear a tether.
The Detroit News is not naming the 16-year-old male, who is being tried as a juvenile.
The teen was also arraigned Saturday on carjacking and assault and battery charges for an unrelated alleged carjacking on June 8.
Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera said the carjacking took place at around 1:50 p.m. at the 12300 block of Morang. The teen and another person, who has not been arrested, came up to a man as he was leaving a store, he said.. They acted as though they had a weapon and took the man’s keys and drove off in his white and gold 2001 Pontiac Montana, Madera said. The teen was arrested the following evening while driving the car. The other suspect was never found.
Youssef set the same bond terms for the alleged carjacking as the alleged festival assault.
The teen also tested positive for marijuana use when he was taken into custody, and photos on his Facebook page show him smoking, holding guns and fanning out large sums of money.
After the court appearance, his mother said she hadn’t seen the photos, but she had heard about them. She said she didn’t know her son, who she says is a student at Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, was facing carjacking charges until she arrived at court.
“I hope this teaches him a lesson, that whether you’re following someone or not, you have to follow your own path,” the mother said.
The teen will appear before Judge Reagan Wood for a pretrial hearing in both cases on July 2.