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Car window punched out in Battle Creek; police investigate hate crime

Car window punched out in Battle Creek; police investigate hate crime. (WWMT/Courtesy Battle Creek Police)

A Battle Creek man turned to social media after he says he was the victim of a hate crime.

Derrick Kilbourn, 24, said he was shocked that a gay man would be harassed and assaulted in 2018, but he also said he felt like nothing was being done about it.

So, Kilbourn sat at his kitchen table Monday to tell Facebook what he experienced Sunday night.

Kilbourn said, “There's this weird guy in there and he's just looking me up and down.”

Kilbourn is talking about a man seen on surveillance wearing an army sweatshirt.

He stopped by Sam's Discount Party Store in Battle Creek. Surveillance video shows him paying for his items and walking out.

He says the man, who gave him an unsettling feeling inside, was now outside with two teenagers in a Jeep stopped behind his car.

Kilbourn said, “They started to yell out, calling me a *****, saying that we're going to beat me up, saying that they were going to drag me through the mud.”

The exchange can't be seen on surveillance video. Kilbourn said he worried the man may have been carrying a gun.

Kilbourn said, “He kicked the side of my car and then he punched my window and the second time he punched my window was when he punched the glass out and it just flew everywhere. I was startled at that point and so was my mom.”

He says the Battle Creek officer who took his complaint told him he would have to take it as a loss and file a claim with his insurance.

Wednesday afternoon, Battle Creek Deputy Chief Jim Grafton said the incident has been identified as a hate crime.

He said while Kilbourn's Facebook video caused them to step back and re-evaluate, it did not change how they were investigating the case.

Grafton said, “I can only try to understand being in his shoes. Right, I've never been the victim of a hate crime and I can only imagine the physical, emotional, and mental turmoil that that would take on an individual.”

Police are working to identify the two people in the surveillance video.

Kilbourn said, “We are all different people. So, it just amazes me to see that, in this day and age, we still have to worry about things like that.”

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