Detroiters charged in severe beating of Grosse Pointe man, but not with hate crime

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Two Detroiters have been charged today in the severe beating of a Grosse Pointe Park motorist who turned in the wrong direction on the east side and caused an accident.

But Toriano Williams, 20, and Demond Williams, 33, won’t be charged with a hate crime, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said, even though the victim, who is white, claimed he was called racial slurs while the black assailants spit on him, kicked him and punched him on Vernor Highway on Saturday afternoon.

“The charges were issued based upon the facts and evidence we are able to prove in court,” Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor’s Office, told us.

The two men face up to 10 years in prison on charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and aggravated assault.

Nate Szczerbinski, who is white, told police that he inadvertently was driving in the wrong direction on Vernor Highway late Saturday afternoon when he was struck by a burgundy van. When the 34-year-old got out of his car, he said he was attacked by a group of men.
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The beating lasted about 20 minutes, Szczerbinski said, and landed him in the hospital. He is expected to soon undergo surgery.

The attack comes two months after the severe beating of 54-year-old Steven Utash, who was attacked after accidentally hitting a boy with his truck in Detroit.

Szczerbinski, a landscaper and 1999 graduate of Harper Woods Secondary School, has a 5-month-old daughter.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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