Online Petition Calls for Investigation Into Zachary Tennen Beating Case
An online petition has been launched calling for an investigation into the nature of attacks on Zachary Tennen, a 19 year old college student from East Lansing, MI, who was brutally beaten last month outside of Michigan State University, where he is a sophomore.
Mr. Tennen was leaving an off-campus party one night when he was approached by two men with shaved heads. Tennen says his assailants asked him if he was Jewish, before punching and beating him, ultimately breaking his jaw and knocking him unconscious. The attackers reportedly mentioned Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan, and stapled Tennen’s mouth shut as well.
Subsequent police investigations, however, have concluded that the attacks were not anti-Semitic in nature. Eyewitnesses speaking to police told a different version of the attacks, and have also denied that Tennen’s mouth was stapled shut.
The dearth of evidence supporting claims of anti-Semitic motivation has led the East Lansing police to refuse classification of the attacks as a hate crime. “There is no indication at all that this was a hate crime… None. Zero,” said Stuart Dunnings III, Ingham’s County Prosecutor, to the Lansing Journal. “I think it’s a shame when one person makes an allegation, and everyone takes it as the truth and gets up in arms about it.”
This sentiment has been echoed by the Anti-Defamation League, who condemned the attack upon its original exposure, but subsequently retracted their statement. In their press release, the ADL said that they met with Tennen’s family and gathered all available evidence before concluding “based on the best information currently available” that the incident should not be treated as a hate crime.
Friends of the victim, in response to what they perceive to be a miscarriage of the law started the petition on Watchdog.net, urging the FBI and the ADL to “investigate the anti-Semitic attack on Zachary Tennen, and to determine why East Lansing police refuse to view the assault as a hate crime.”
At the time of publication, the petition has gathered more than 13,000 signatures, approximately 4000 of which were added in the last day. However, it remains to be seen what further investigations authorities would be willing to conduct. If not anti-Semitic, the attacker’s motive has not been determined yet, reports the Huffington Post. Police have an 18-year-old suspect in mind whose name has not been released and who is not currently facing charges.