After the recent beating of Brandon Manning, a 24-year-old African American resident, the Richmond chapter of the NAACP called a vigil in El Sobrante, CA on Feb. 5, 2009, to support Manning and his family.
Two dozen community members joined city and religious leaders who huddled together in the rain at the park where Manning was attacked.
“I’m here to give my support to the Manning family,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “Ultimately I want to say Richmond is a place that welcomes people of all races, creeds and cultures, all sexual orientations — and at times like this, we come together to support each other and to strengthen our resolve and ability to respond and to just come back stronger.”
Manning, who attended the vigil, embraced the community’s support. “If I can bring people together, then I’ve done something,” he said.
The attack occurred on Jan. 24, 2009,after Manning, a UPS employee, met a group of men on his way home from work. The men offered to give him a ride home, but instead took him to La Moine Valley View Park where Manning says the men started to kick and punch him while shouting racial slurs. Manning’s face was fractured in six places and he will soon undergo reconstructive surgery.
Four of seven suspects have been charged in connection with the beating. The local NAACP chapter is calling on investigators to make further arrests and has criticized the Richmond police for failing to handle the case properly. Richmond police officials confirmed the initial report of the beating sat for days on a patrol supervisor’s desk before reaching investigators, stalling follow-up for nearly a week.
At the vigil, Mayor McLaughlin addressed the delay by police. “I’m glad that the police chief has acknowledged that there was an error in the investigation process and that he is correcting it,” she said. “I’m working on getting more details on exactly how this investigation was not dealt with in the proper way and how it is being rectified. I want a full investigation of this crime.”