-- The attackers were bald-headed KKK members and chanted "Heil Hitler".
-- The attackers stapled Tennen's mouth shut.
-- The victim's parents immediately filed a complaint with the Anti-Defamation League.
Now it turns out that East Lansing Police are also skeptical of the anti-Semitic angle as well. East Lansing police Captain Jeff Murphy said there was no dispute that Zach Tennen, 19, was seriously assaulted in the early hours of Sunday and suffered a broken jaw. However, Chief Murphy said witnesses have not confirmed Tennen's account that he was attacked after being asked if he was Jewish at a party close to Michigan State University campus; in fact, two witnesses specifically said that Tennen's religion was NOT an issue. Detectives also have no evidence that Tennen's mouth was stapled during the attack as he claimed.
Tennen originally claimed that around 2:30 A.M. on Sunday August 26th, while at an off-campus party, two men asked him if he was Jewish, raised their arms in Nazi salutes, said “Heil Hitler” and knocked him to the ground, after which they stapled his gums. He said that least 20 other people at the party did nothing to intervene and threw him out when the fight was over, leaving him to take a cab to Sparrow Hospital. Tennen underwent surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital in Pontiac on Monday night to have his jaw wired shut. Tennen admitted drinking alcohol at the party, but claimed it was only a small amount.
However, witnesses reported that most of the 40 people at the party were hanging out in back of the house on the 500 block of Spartan Avenue, and the confrontation took place in front. The witnesses say the entire assault consisted of a single punch, that the two men left the area and the witnesses went over to see if Tennen was OK, got cold vegetables to put on his face, and got him into a cab so he could get to the hospital. They didn’t see the Nazi salutes or hear anyone say “Heil Hitler”. As for the staple, one witness saw Tennen take it out of his mouth, but never saw it go in.
Police have found a person of interest. They questioned an 18-year-old man from Farmington Hills on Tuesday August 28th, but did not arrest him. The assailant, if arrested and tried, could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines if found guilty of aggravated assault, a minor misdemeanor that specifies the victim was seriously injured in an attack. Police say the suspect will remain free as local prosecutors review the case later this week to determine specifically what charges to file.
Tennen's father Bruce says the conclusions by East Lansing police sicken him, calling police statements that the attack wasn't a hate crime "absurd". He added that his son was upset about investigators debating the claim. He said he would support Anti-Defamation League follow-up with the FBI. Zachary Tennen is the grandson of longtime Michigan 3rd District Judge Harvey F. Tennen.
Some members of the public are skeptical:
Chuck 11 hours ago (Royal Oak Daily Tribune):
Tennen is a loudmouth punk. He shot his mouth off to the wrong guys and got back a little bit of what he deserved. Hopefully he transfers out to Brandeis or wherever.
MIKENLEEDS Posted on August 28, 2012 at 2:55pm (The Blaze):
this whole story does nt pass the smell test, sounds like another made up fake liberals pity story looking for knee jerk reactions.
HJABLO Posted on August 28, 2012 at 4:59pm (The Blaze):
Just like the Holocaust – I’m sorry, that was just another made up story.
JUST_US2 Posted on August 28, 2012 at 2:53pm (The Blaze):
Maybe it’s because of other false hate crimes that have been reported, but something just does not seem right here.
KELLY HENDERSON Posted on August 28, 2012 at 2:59pm (The Blaze):
I think you are right. This story doesn`t pass the smell test. What was the 20 people doing while this was happening? I aint buying it.