Near an apartment complex in Winona, an 18-year-old driving a pickup ran into a 4-year-old boy who’d wandered into the street. The driver freaked out, slammed on the brakes, and clambered out to make sure the kid was OK.
That’s when a group of witnesses to the accident jumped on the driver and started beating him. Surrounded by as many as 10 people kicking and punching, the teen came away with bruises and a chipped tooth.
Both he and the 4-year-old, Damajae Winn, were taken to nearby Winona Health. The driver was treated and released. The boy was booked for additional care until Tuesday, when he went home with a neck brace.
WCCO reports that the driver, who is white, might have been testing the temper of the neighborhood for a while. Notorious for toting a Confederate flag behind his truck – a flag that had been stolen and set on fire in months past – the driver wasn’t particularly popular before he ran over a tiny black kid.
The driver’s tearful 13-year-old girlfriend, who was in the truck with him at the time, said the flag wasn’t meant to insult black neighbors. Meanwhile, neighbors mused that the teen probably wouldn't have been beaten if he hadn't already alienated residents.
Winona cops are still investigating both the accident and the assault. They aren't releasing the name of the driver to deter additional retaliation.