A Facebook video that reportedly went viral helped police nab two suspects in the “appalling” assault of an elderly woman last month at a Minneapolis, Minnesota train station, authorities said.
Police say the victim was sitting on a bench inside the Chicago-Lake Transit Center when Wesley Martin, 21, Deondre Jackson, 20, and a female accomplice approached the woman and began to yell at her, the Star-Tribune reported.
The woman ignored them at first, the newspaper said, then tried to get up and was shoved back onto the bench, according to a criminal complaint filed last week.
Martin reached inside the victim’s jacket, stole a liquor bottle from her and put it in his back pocket, the complaint alleges. A woman tried to intervene, but Martin pushed her aside and continued to accost the victim, running his hands over her stomach, bottom and thighs as the unnamed female accomplice hovered over the victim, authorities said.
The victim tried to push past Martin and the female suspect, but they grabbed her to keep her from escaping, authorities said.
Police say a suspect, identified as Jackson, was holding up his cellphone and recording “the brutalization of the victim,” the complaint said. The female suspect allegedly pulled the victim backward and threw her to the floor. Jackson’s camera zeroed in on the victim as Martin held her down and groped her, authorities said.
At this point, the elderly woman was in a fetal position on the floor, with both arms clutching her jacket — which was ripped off by the suspect — under her hand, the complaint said.
Authorities allege Jackson could be heard on the video yelling racial epithets at the woman, ABC 5 reported, and saying, “That lady like a hundred years old!”
The woman yelled for help, but “many” onlookers stood by without intervening, the complaint said, according to the news station. A man tried to help, but was kicked and punched in the face by Martin, authorities said. He can be seen “staggering” from the blow, according to the complaint.
The female accomplice eventually tore the woman’s shirt from her body, authorities said. Martin allegedly left the transit station with the shirt.
Authorities say Jackson uploaded the video, described by police as “appalling,” to Facebook the next day, GoMN reported.
While there were cameras posted inside and outside of the transit center, the Facebook video helped authorities better identify some of the individuals, according to Metro Transit Public Information Officer Howie Padilla, CBS Minnesota reported.
Both Jackson and Martin are charged with felony first-degree aggravated robbery, according to the Star-Tribune.
Prosecutors say they plan to seek a stricter sentence than called for under the state guidelines, due to the victim’s age and vulnerability, and the “particular cruelty” of the Feb. 12 attack, the newspaper reported.