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MSU Student, Groves Grad Says Off-Campus Assault Was a Hate Crime

Franklin resident Zach Tennen had his jaw wired shut Monday after an attack in East Lansing he said occurred because he's Jewish.

Michigan State University sophomore and 2011 graduate Zach Tennen told police that a campus fight over the weekend was a hate crime and he was beaten because he's Jewish.

According to ClickonDetroit.com, Tennen, a Franklin resident, told police the assault occurred early Sunday morning at a party in East Lansing. Tennen said his two attackers asked him if he was Jewish, then proceeded to assault him.

"And they were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK," he told Click on Detroit, noting his attackers appeared to be college-age men.

Tennen was knocked unconscious during the incident, and when he woke up, he took a cab to Lansing Sparrow Hospital.

According to officials, Tennen's jaw was broken in two places during the attack and his mouth was stapled. Tennen had surgery Monday night to have his jaw wired shut and is recovering at home.

"I'm really, really upset in a few ways," Tennen, a journalism major, told The State News, MSU's student newspaper. "First of all, it is a terrible experience physically and also mentally to know someone would do something like this."

According to Click on Detroit, Tennen's family has filed a report with the East Lansing Police and has contacted the Anti-Defamation League.

MSU spokesperson Kent Cassella said the university is working with Tennen and his family.

“Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs,” Cassella said in a statement. “MSU will work with the student and his professors to ensure he can fulfill his academic requirements, as we would with any student in need.”

Tennen's mother Tina told The Detroit News she hopes her son will return to classes in a week.

"It’s an awful hate crime, and what he’s gone through emotionally and physically, it’s scary to put it into words,” she said.

Alan Stamm August 28, 2012 at 08:25 PM
UPDATE: The reported assault is “likely not a hate crime,” police now say. In a statement reported by the Lansing State Journal, East Lansing police say detectives are “making significant progress with the case,” found two witnesses and a possible suspect who doesn't live near MSU. The cops don't say why they back off hate crime classification. [ http://on.lsj.com/Tqp9Od ]
Alan Stamm August 29, 2012 at 12:51 AM
UPDATE 2: "Capt. Jeff Murphy of the East Lansing Police Department said the two witnesses . . . did not hear or see anything that could be construed as a hate crime. 'They didn’t see Nazi or Hitler gestures,' Murphy said. In addition, the witnesses could not confirm whether staples were involved. " 'We just need a lot more to it before it comes to the level of a hate crime,' he said." -- The State News [ http://bit.ly/QPtiZH ]
Alan Stamm August 29, 2012 at 05:54 PM
UPDATE 3: An 18-year-old Farmington Hills man is a suspect. East Lansing cops interviewed him yesterday (Aug. 28) and plan to seek charges next week. “He paints a different picture of the motive for sure,” Capt. Jeff Murphy tells the Lansing State Journal. No word on a supposed second hitter or a purported stapler capable of lip-percing, which the assailant just happened to carry. http://on.lsj.com/OxlkID
Greg Thrasher August 29, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Clearly something is rotten in Denmark...I had my reservations about the racist remarks posted in Seaholm HS a couple of years ago( It was the work of an immature Black teen) ..I share the same reservations about this 'alleged hate crime'

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