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OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A teen charged with a hate crime in Oak Park says he attacked and beat up his victim because he was angry about the Trayvon Martin case.
Alton Hayes III, 18, of Oak Park, is charged with attempted robbery and aggravated battery. He is also charged with a hate crime.
Hayes and his 15-year-old alleged accomplice are African-American, while the victim is white.
The Oak Park-River Forest Patch reports around 1 a.m. April 17, Hayes and the Chicago boy walked up behind the 19-year-old victim in the 1600 block of North Kenilworth Avenue in Oak Park.
Police say Hayes and his accomplice and pinned the victim’s arms to his side, police said. Hayes then picked up a large tree branch, pointed it at the man and said, “Empty your pockets, white boy,” police said.
The two allegedly rifled through the victim’s pockets, then threw him to the ground and punched him “numerous times” in the head and back before running away, police said.
After being arrested, Hayes told police he was upset by the Trayvon Martin case, and said he beat the victim up because he was white, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.
Martin, 17, was fatally shot Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is Hispanic, while Martin was black.
Martin was unarmed and was only wearing a hoodie and carrying iced tea and a bag of Skittles, but Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has alleged he was attacked. For a month and a half after the shooting, Zimmerman was not charged with any crime, and claimed protection under the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people wide latitude to use of deadly force rather than retreat during a fight or perceived threatening situation.
But Zimmerman was ultimately charged with second-degree murder on April 11.
Hayes was charged with attempted robbery, aggravated battery and a hate crime, all felonies, Oak Park police Detective Cmdr. Ladon Reynolds said.
Hayes was ordered held on $80,000 bond and remained in the Cook County Jail on Friday. He will next appear in court May 11. The boy was referred to juvenile court.
The Oak Park Oak Leaves contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.