Man Arrested After Minneapolis News Anchor Injured In Apparent Hate Crime Attack

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A Minneapolis man has been charged with third-degree assault for injuring KSTP-TV anchor Matt Belanger near the Nicollet light rail platform.

Vennie Williams, 39, also faces harassment charges because his attack was motivated by bias against what he believed the man’s sexual orientation to be.

According to the criminal complaint, on May 12, Metro Transit Police responded to 4th Street and Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis where Belanger told officers that a man he did not know, Vennie Williams, threw an object at him as he was walking across the Nicollet light rail platform. The object struck Belanger directly in the left eye.

Belanger went to the Hennepin County Medical Center and found he suffered a corneal and ocular abrasion, which could cause permanent damage.

Surveillance footage showed the assault clearly. Metro Transit police found Williams soon after near 6th Street and Marquette Avenue, and Belanger later positively identified Williams as the assailant, the complaint continues.

Williams was arrested, and while in the back of the squad car, began speaking. Williams indicated that one of the reasons he attacked Belanger was that he thought the victim was homosexual, the complaint states.

A Message From Matt

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me since I was injured on my way to work this week. I'm doing my best to respond to all of you and wanted to share this message with an update on my recovery. I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon on KSTP-TV.

Posted by Matt Belanger on Thursday, May 14, 2020

Criminal Complaint (PDF)

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