Jewish Student’s Mouth Stapled Shut in Possible MSU Hate Crime

Zachary Tennen, a sophomore at Michigan State University, is recovering after he was physically beaten and his mouth was stapled shut in what his family says was a hate crime.

According to CBS Detroit:

He was at a house party on the 500 block of Spartan Avenue early Sunday morning when two men approached him and asked if he was Jewish. When he responded “Yes,” the two men raised their arms into a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” before knocking him unconscious, according to Tennen’s mother, Tina.

It gets worse:

About 20 people reportedly watched as the men proceeded to staple Zachary Tennen’s mouth shut at the lips and gums. His jaw was broken in two places during the attack.

“They knocked me down really hard … and I assumed someone would help me,” Zachary Tennen said in a statement. “But after some guys at the house basically kicked me out, I had to get a cab.”

Tennen underwent surgery Monday night to have his jaw wired shut. He’s recovering at home and hopes to return to school in about a week. His mother has filed a report with the East Lansing Police and also contacted the Anti-Defamation League and the FBI. The university released the following statement:

“Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs. MSU will work with the student and his professors to ensure he can fulfill his academic requirements, as we would with any student in need. As the incident occurred off campus in East Lansing, all questions about the police investigation need to go the East Lansing Police Department.”

After the initial story broke, the Associated Press released an update saying the incident was “not likely a hate crime,” according to a statement from East Lansing Police, and that police had identified a potential suspect. The Detroit Free Press also reports:

According to Michigan Incident Crime Reporting data, there were 21 victims of anti-Jewish hate or bias crimes last year, while there were 18 in 2010 and 20 in 2009.

Absolutely terrifying, completely inexcusable.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.


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