Sheriff: Black Teen's Beating Likely Racial

10:43 AM, Nov 24, 2007   |    comments
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(Chester) -- Chester County Sheriff Robby Benson says he is asking state and federal agents to help investigate the beating of a black teen by two white men, because he says the attack was racially motivated. Benson says brothers Donald "Tody" Williford and Brandon Todd Williford began beating 16 year old Rosevelt McClurkin Tuesday after seeing him in a car with Tody Williford's 16-year-old daughter in a grocery store parking lot in Chester. What turned out to be a good gesture landed an eyewitness in the emergency room after he tried to pull the two guys off the teen. The witness says just by sizing them up he knew the teen had no chance against them. "It comes down to the point do you want that on your conscious that you could've did something then something tragic happen or help out," explained Collin Stringfellow, the witness. He decided to intervene after seeing the Williford brothers beating on a car with people inside. He added, "I walked over and said 'whoa fellas I'm not gonna let you do that.' They look at me and say, 'mind your business boy.'" Sheriff Benson says, McClurkin left work with Williford's daughter and there wasn't any reason for what happened next. He added, "It was automatic--just pulling him out of the car and started beating him." McClurkin wasn't the only victim in this case: Stringfellow also caught a right hook to the eye. "He mushes me in the face; I swing back at him. Then, the other one comes over and tackles me," said Stringfellow. The sheriff says, there were a lot of racial slurs thrown around during the fight, so he believes it was racially motivated. "You have to look at the past history, certain things...what was said, what was done," said Benson. Stringfellow believes, "From what I saw I can't say he is protecting his daughter." That's why Stringfellow says he had a motive to protect a complete stranger. "He thanked me for it. No one else was coming over to help him and everybody else was just watching," explained Stringfellow. Both Willfords have been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Benson says he wants the State Law Enforcement Division and FBI to see if the Willfords should be charged with a hate crime. Racial charges could still be brought up on the brothers. The sheriff says he will be meeting with the FBI on Monday for further investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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