A man who allegedly has connections to the Proud Boys has been charged after attacking a Black woman in Akron, Ohio. The exclusively male organization has been described as far-right, neo-fascist, and racist. The Proud Boys have been known to engage in political violence, and they’ve had a presence at extremist gatherings including the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA.
Andrew Walls, 26, turned himself into police after a video went viral of him appearing to punch Cameron Morgan, 23, in the face. Walls has been charged with possessing a firearm while intoxicated and assault, WOIO reports.
Morgan told WKYC Walls was using the n-word on the street. She told him to stop, he then hurled the racial slur at her and said, “Shut your mouth,” before punching her in the face, which caused her lip to split open, according to the video.
WOIO reports Walls has “ties to a local chapter of the Proud Boys.”
WKYC also claims Walls’ mother was Morgan's math teacher in the 10th grade but Walls did not know who Morgan was at the time of the assault.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said in a statement after Walls turned himself in, “I am deeply concerned with, what clearly appears to be, a racially motivated assault in our City this past weekend. When the victim reported this incident, our officers mobilized to identify and apprehend the suspect. A short while ago, the suspect, 26-year-old Andrew Carlson Walls, was taken into custody by APD detectives.”
He also added, “The Akron Police Department has reached out to the FBI to determine if this assault rises to a federal hate crime. Hate has no place in our beloved city. We will use every resource at our disposal to bring anyone who engages in racially motivated or bias based crimes to justice. We stand united with the victim of this heinous assault and her family to ensure justice is served.”
Judi Hill, President of the Akron NAACP, released the following statement, "Violence against women, first of all, was cowardly. Period. Violence in this case is a hate crime, period. We cannot accept it, we won't accept it. It cannot keep going on like this. We have to let people know that this isn't acceptable, not just in Akron, but anywhere."
Police said additional charges are pending for an assault on another woman, who is not a person of color, in that same incident.