Lucas Eastwood and Travis Campbell going to prison for racist attack, but victim wanted more

Lucas Eastwood and Travis Campbell, the two Brainerd men arrested for a racially motivated attack on a black stranger, have pleaded guilty to a felony and are headed to prison.

But that's not enough for Willie Navy, the man who Eastwood and Campbell jumped outside a bar and pummeled so badly his face required multiple surgeries. Eastwood and Campbell's attack was alleged to be racially motivated after an employee at Yesterday's Gone bar had overheard them talking about fighting Navy, 53, because of his race.

But the charge of "assault motivated by racial bias" was dropped by the Crow Wing County Attorney after Eastwood and Campbell pleaded guilty to the more serious charge of first-degree assault. This means that Eastwood and Campbell are guilty of violence, but not racism -- a distinction that's bothering Navy, as he told WCCO.

"I don't understand," he said. "I really don't and it's tearing me apart."

After a night at Yesterday's Gone, a downtown Brainerd watering hole and Navy's regular hangout, police found Navy found badly beaten on the sidewalk. At the time, it was thought that Navy's injuries might leave him blind in his left eye.

Willie Navy wants everyone to know he was targeted because he's black.
Willie Navy wants everyone to know he was targeted because he's black.

He's got his sight back, but doesn't like what he sees, according to WCCO. Navy says the plea deal, which will put Eastwood and Campbell behind bars for years, isn't the kind of justice he wanted.

"Plea and tell me that you're sorry and say what you done to me," Navy told WCCO, explaining what he'd wanted from his assailants. "I ain't get none of that."

Campbell's lawyer Mike Mitchell downplayed the events of that night, and disputes the origin of the assault.

"It was really a bar fight," Mitchell told WCCO. "[Campbell] contends that he was really the third man into a bar fight and it got out of hand."

Ah, note the use of that word "contends" -- the defense lawyer's best friend. Because of their "contentions," Campbell and Eastwood are looking at two and seven years in prison, respectively. They're due to be sentenced later this fall.

Navy had only moved from Minneapolis to Brainerd a few years ago -- a story that sounds rather similar to the woman who'd recently moved from the city to Lakeville, only to wake up one morning to swastika graffiti.

At the time of his attack, Navy said he still wanted to make Brainerd his home. Good luck, Willie, but Minneapolis will still be around if you change your mind.

As for Mr. Eastwood, maybe next time he's in on a hate crime he should look a little less happy in his mugshot.

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