Bruised and beaten David Wilcox, a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, is receiving backing from the Public Interest Legal Foundation in the form of letters to two branches of the U.S. Department of Justice urging an investigation into the Chicago, Illinois beating and carjacking.
Video shows a man being repeatedly and brutally beaten to the ground on Chicago’s West Side while laughter and shouts of “You voted Trump, you voted Trump, yeeaaah” and “beat his a**, don’t vote Trump, don’t vote Trump!” can be heard as the beating of the man is filmed. The video, along with a second video that does not have sound, but shows what appears to be the start of the man being dragged as someone else speeds off in the car, was posted by the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune identifies the man as David Wilcox, 49, who said it started when a black sedan grazed his vehicle and, after he got out to ask for insurance, the beating began. Wilcox said he tried to get back in his car, but someone else got into the driver’s seat. As Wilcox tried to get him out, he grabbed onto the door frame and was dragged as the car drove off – the driver driving at high speeds, attempting to get Wilcox to fall off of the car.
Now the Public Interest Legal Foundation is charging the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the altercation with two letters sent to DOJ officials.
In a release regarding the letters, the Foundation recounts the attack and shouts from bystanders including one Wilcox recalled, “it’s one of them white boy Trump guys.” Wilcox has said that he did vote for Trump in the November 8, 2016 presidential election.
The Foundation sent one letter to Chris Herren, Chief of the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. That letter states, in part, “The statements of those encouraging the beating would support an investigation under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, now codified at 52 U.S.C. Section 10307(b).” Wilcox has said the altercation began with the contact between the vehicle, but the release notes the egging on of the bystanders and goes on to state, “The attackers follow these racially and politically motivated suggestions.”
That letter goes on to allege that “that the Department has different standards for enforcing the law depending on the nature of the victim and the nature of the perpetrators.”
A comparison is then made to a DOJ investigation into the altercation between Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri that ultimately resulted in evidence vindicating officer Wilson, but not before his career with the police department was ended. “Your Section has an opportunity here to help resolve that question with the attack on Mr. Wilcox. If the Division does not vigorously pursue an investigation into whether the Voting Rights Act was violated – as vigorously as it pursued other recent high profile racially charged cases such as in Ferguson, Missouri – it raises profound questions about the Section’s suitability to fairly enforce the laws as currently composed.”
The Foundation sent a second letter to Paige Fitzgerald, Acting Chief of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. DOJ. The second letter makes similar comparison to the Ferguson investigation as to this case.
The second letter focuses in on the issue of voter intimidation, reading, in part:
Considering the Section’s prior enforcement activities, this incident was a likely violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 245. It pertinent part, those who “by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with . . . voting” commit a felony. Preserving the right to vote free from violence based on your choices compel your Section to act. Elections cannot be conducted properly when voters fear violence.
Moreover, your Section has relied on a “streets theory” which would clearly support prosecution in this case. 18 U.S.C. Section 241 certainly supports Mr. Wilcox’s right to drive on the streets free of racially or politically motivated violence. Under that statute, it is a federal felony “if two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate any person. . . in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution.” Your Section has brought cases in circumstances with notable similarities, in so far as the victims were merely peaceably transiting a public space. Mr. Wilcox has a federal right to travel the streets and not be viciously beaten because of the perception he voted for Donald Trump.
“The right to participate in an election without fear of being beaten by a mob is one of the most fundamental civil rights,” said J. Christian Adams, President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “Americans should not have to fear political violence because they voted for Donald Trump, and this Justice Department needs to start enforcing the law no matter who the victim is.”
Chicago chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said following the incident that the department was taking the case very seriously and “that type of divisive rhetoric is not acceptable” according to the Tribune. No one had been reported in custody as of Thursday.
Public Interest Legal Foundation stated in the two letters that DOJ investigation into the incident should not be hindered due to the perpetrators remaining on the loose.
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