Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton charged an 18-year-old Mount Morris Township man in the assault of a manager at the Macy’s department store in the Genesee Valley Center in Flint Township, Michigan. Damire Canell Palmer (d.o.b. 05/07/2002) is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, a 10-year felony, in the attack on the 50-year-old manager who was working in the men’s clothing section around 5:30 p.m. on June 15th. In surveillance video obtained from Macy’s by Flint Township Police, Palmer is seen walking around the store. He then approaches and punches the manager in the head from behind knocking him to the floor. The video shows Palmer continuing to strike the manager while he is on the floor. Palmer then exits the store with another man.
Leyton indicated that despite public comments on social media, the police investigation did not uncover any evidence of provocation by the store manager.
“This was an unprovoked attack on a Macy’s employee,” Leyton said. “This behavior as seen on the video is unacceptable, it is criminal and it cannot be allowed. We don’t believe any racial slur was made by the store manager, and even if there had been, it does not condone nor justify the assault by Mr. Palmer.”
Leyton noted that certain social media accounts and other reports online stating that the phone conversation between the store manager and another Macy’s employee prior to the incident was recorded is a false narrative. The call was on private cell phones and not recorded. He also said there is no audio on the Macy’s store surveillance video contrary to what some had indicated. In addition, Leyton said he and his senior staff reviewed the case for possibly charging Palmer with a hate crime, called ethnic intimidation by statute, but he said there is insufficient probable cause evidence that would support it.
“I know a lot of people are calling this a hate crime but, under the laws of Michigan, the evidence simply does not support that charge,” he said.
President Donald Trump had previously Trump retweeted a tweet by Matt Walsh, a writer for The Daily Wire. The tweet included the video of the manager being punched. Trump asked where the protesters were and whether the man was arrested.
As of approximately 3:30 p.m. June 26, police were still searching for Palmer. Once arrested, he will be arraigned on the felony charge in 67th District Court.