Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has charged an 18-year-old man in the assault of a Macy’s manager in Flint Township.
Damire Palmer is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm which is a ten year felony in the attack of the 50-year-old manager who was working in the store around 5:30 p.m. on June 15.
"Basically sucker punched the store manager from behind, knocked him to the floor," Leyton said. "And we have no evidence of provocation of him uttering any racial slur whatsoever."
In the surveillance video, Palmer is seen walking around the store before approaching and punching the manager in the head from behind knocking him to the floor, according to police.
"Once we gathered the evidence and we saw the Macy's internal video, there was no doubt in my mind that a crime was committed," Leyton said.
Palmer then struck the manager while he was on the ground and exited the store with another man, police say.
Leyton said the investigation did not uncover any evidence that this was provoked.
“This was an unprovoked attack on a Macy’s employee,” said Prosecutor Leyton. “This behavior as seen on the video is unacceptable, it is criminal, and it cannot be allowed,” said Prosecutor Leyton.
“We don’t believe any racial slur was made by the store manager and even if there had been, it does not condone nor justify the assault,” Prosecutor Leyton said.
Leyton also said social media reports stating that the phone conversation and another Macy’s employee prior to the incident was recorded is not true.
Prosecutor Leyton also said he and his senior staff reviewed the case for possibly charging Palmer with a hate crime, called ethnic intimidation by statute, but he said there is insufficient probable cause evidence that would support it.
“I know a lot of people are calling this a hate crime but, under the laws of Michigan, the evidence simply does not support that charge,” he said.
Police are still searching for Palmer at this hour. They say once he is arrested, he will be arraigned on the felony charge in court.
"Violence is never the answer unless you are in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm yourself or a loved one, otherwise there is no defense," Leyton said.