Reed tried to ignore Fries, but when Fries got out of his pickup truck, Reed took out his cell phone to record the encounter.
“I asked him, ‘Are you the law, sir? What’s going on?’ He said, ‘You’re just making people nervous,’” Reed said. When Fries got out of the car he began using the N-word, Reed says.
Bystanders reported to police that Fries began chasing Reed, and when he caught up to him on the sidewalk, he started punching him until he passed out. According to witnesses, Fries punched Reed over a dozen times, even after he fell unconscious.
The savage attack left Reed with cuts on his face, a broken tooth, a fractured cheekbone, and a burst blood vessel in his eye.
But, of course, this is Texas, so the Harris County District Attorney’s office has only charged Fries with a misdemeanor for aggravated assault.
Reed’s wife, Angie Reed, says she believes her husband was attacked for one reason and one reason only: “because he Black.”
She says when went to see her husband after the attack and walked into the hospital room, “I started crying and the nurses started crying.” She says her husband will need surgery to repair the damage to his eye and the attack could have cost him his life.
“It was the witnesses who told the police that he was hit about 12 times after he was already unconscious,” she said.
She added, “I don’t care where you live, you don’t deserve to be disrespected by the color of your skin.” Fries reportedly was arrested and released on a bond of $100 after being charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault, a charge Angie Reed called “insulting and disrespectful.”
A representative from the attorney general’s office said in a statement, “We are still in the initial stages of reviewing this incident … What happens in relation to an increase in the charge or an addition to a hate crime will depend on the entirety of the evidence.”
According to KPCR2, Seabrook Police Chief Sean Wright said the incident didn’t appear to be a hate crime, citing previous “conflict” between neighbors.
The Reeds say they don’t know Fries. They never met the man.
“I don’t feel safe in my own neighborhood where I pay taxes and am a law-abiding citizen of Seabrook,” Reed said.
*Since some folks in the community asked: If you’d like to help Mr. Reed, his wife launched a GoFundMe for his medical expenses.