CINCINNATI (FOX19) - After an arrest on Wednesday, authorities are on the hunt for one more person wanted in connection to a July 4 beating of an "innocent bystander" on Cincinnati's Fountain Square. The beating involved multiple black men and a white victim.
Police took Mordecia Black, 28, into custody Wednesday morning. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said he believes Black was the man who started the attack and did "the more vicious attacking" of McKnight.
The case was originally labeled an "anti-white" hate crime by Cincinnati Police, but the department later backed off that determination, claiming the beating happened as the result of a robbery.
Deters held a press conference Tuesday to announce indictments against three men and a juvenile defendant in the beating. Deters told reporters he needs the public's help in identifying another black male he plans to charge in the beating.
Deters confirmed he does not believe the beating was the result of a robbery, "I think they're just a bunch of lawless thugs, that's what I think. They were just doing this for fun," Deters said.
The victim, 27-year-old Christopher McKnight, told investigators he did not remember the attack. Deters confirmed McKnight was knocked out and the men continued beating him as he laid unconscious on a Cincinnati sidewalk.
McKnight's wallet and cell phone were not on scene when police arrived, Deters said.
The Hamilton County Grand Jury handed up indictments of felonious assault, two counts of aggravated riot and inducing panic against the following men in connection to the beating:
-Mordecia Black, 28
-Antonio Tremble, 17 (only indicted on felonious assault)
-Raeshaun Hand, 19
-Steven Montgomery, 18
-Another unidentified black male facing charges
Deters showed a picture of the unidentified man in a red hat, captured from a METRO bus surveillance camera. Investigators were still reviewing those tapes and could possible identify additional suspects in the course of the investigation.
HATE CRIME NOT IN PLAY
Despite a Cincinnati Police incident report labeling the attack on Christopher McKnight an "anti-white" hate crime, the grand jury was not asked to consider that as a charge. The charges leveled against the men are "serious felonies," Deters said, and the state's ethnic intimidation statute does not cover felonies.
Under Ohio law, prosecutors can only bring state hate crime charges when the crimes committed are classified as misdemeanors. Misdemeanors carry 30 day sentences in the county jail while felonies carry up to life in state prison.
"We have no evidence of ethnic intimidation besides the victim's a different color than the people who did it," Deters explained.
"These people are not salvageable, okay? They will hurt you. They will hurt your grandma. They don't care," Deters told reporters.
If convicted of all charges, the defendants face a minimum of a decade in prison.