Cincinnati police probe bloody July 4th assault

CBS News

Cincinnati police are reviewing a bloody weekend assault that sent a man to the hospital, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

Video posted on social media shows a group punching and stomping on 27-year-old Christopher McKnight while he is violently beaten as the crowd taunts and laughs at him.

In the video, McKnight gets up and walks away, but returns to continue fighting.

A second amateur video shows him on lying on the ground, apparently unconscious and his face bloodied. The group around him appeared unconcerned.

McKnight was hospitalized with a broken nose and a concussion.

"It was not good what happened this weekend," Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said. "Certainly not good from an optics standpoint, as well as the realism of an innocent individual being beaten up like that."

A police report labeled the incident as an "anti-white" crime because the reporting officer claimed McKnight was attacked by a group of people from the "opposite race." But Cincinnati Police Captain Mike Neville retracted that description Monday.

"Right now, I don't have reason to label that as a hate crime. It is an ongoing investigation. I would tell you preliminary speaking, that report was incorrect," Neville said.

The incident took place on the evening of July Fourth near a hip-hop concert in Cincinnati's famed Fountain Square. There were several other assaults reported there that night, as well.

Crowds threw bottles and fireworks and police donned riot gear. Seven people were arrested, including 21-year-old Jy Quynn Britten, who allegedly punched a police officer in the face.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley praised law enforcement's response.

"Our police department is the best in the world, showed enormous professionalism, enormous restraint and got the situation under control," Cranley said.

Eight officers were assigned to Fountain Square, where about 3,000 people attended the hip-hop concert Saturday night.

As Cincinnati prepares to host next week's scheduled MLB All-Star game, people are questioning whether the city will be ready.

Cranley said the violence won't affect preparations.

"We're going to literally have hundreds and hundreds of police officers highly visible all weekend and this city's really going to shine," Cranley said.

No one has been charged in connection with McKnight's beating and police are still investigating. Officials say Saturday's concert was geared toward "unchaperoned youth."

The concert's promoter, the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, has since discontinued future concerts even though it believes the violent assaults were not associated with the event.