Man attacked believes it was in response to Zimmerman verdict

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee police are investigating a battery that happened near 26th and Cherry around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 14th.

A 34-year-old Wauwatosa man told police that he was walking through Tiefenthaler Park from a friend's house when he was punched in the back of the head by an unknown suspect, knocking him down. The victim says that several other suspects then punched and kicked him. Officials say the victim further alleges that he heard one of the suspects refer to Trayvon Martin as they were striking him.

The victim is 34-year-old Christopher. FOX6 News is withholding his last name because he says he fears for his safety.

"I get hit from behind, I get spun around, and then I get tackled and knocked to the ground. This lasted at least five minutes before I blacked out. I woke up and I remember thinking 'is this ever going to end?'" Christopher told FOX6 News.

Christopher says it's the last thing he heard that made him want to share his story.

"One of the guys who hit me said: 'this is for Trayvon,'" Christopher said.

The suspects fled and then Christopher was conveyed to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released. The investigation is ongoing and there are no suspects in custody.

"I could have been killed. I think it's important that people hear about this story and maybe they think twice before they go and do this to somebody," Christopher said.

Christopher says he believes this was a racially-motivated attack, and a visceral and violent response to the not guilty verdict handed down by a jury for George Zimmerman this weekend -- acquitting him in the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin.

"I think they saw me and instantly, rage just took over," Christopher said.

T.J. Jackson witnessed the incident.

"The guy was coming from around the corner here and several individuals dressed in black -- bunch of kids, ain't no grown men, a bunch of children -- came out and jumped on the guy, screamed, 'Trayvon Martin' and got out of there before the police could come," Jackson said.

Terrance Walker disagrees with the Zimmerman verdict, but he also disagrees with the violent reaction to it.

"We can't do it. That's just going to make everything worse in our neighborhood. Let's do it in the system -- not with our hands," Walker said.

Meanwhile, Christopher, who says he has no racial prejudice, points out it was a black man who stopped the attack and called 911.

"I remember him holding my arm the whole time until the police showed up. He said, 'I got this, nothing more is going to happen to you.' We need to come together to come through this Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman thing. because if we decide to do what happened to me, it's not going to solve anything. It's going to drive the wedge even further," Christopher said.

The Milwaukee Police Department encourages anyone with information on this case to call 414-935-7360.