Andrew Walls is an Ohio man accused of punching a young Black woman in the face and calling her a racial slur. A witness recorded the incident and the video has been widely shared on social media.
Walls, 26, is now facing criminal charges. The Akron Police told WKYC that the FBI is also investigating and mulling whether to charge Walls with a hate crime.
The videos embedded below contain racist language.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect Was Recorded Punching the Victim in the Face With a Closed Fist
The confrontation happened on February 26 in Highland Square, a neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, WKYC-TV reported.
The victim was identified as Cameron Morgan, 23. According to an interview Morgan gave with the TV station and a Facebook post from one of her friends, Morgan and her friends saw a group of men arguing. They said one of the men was using a racial slur. Morgan said they told the man to stop using the word.
The video shared on social media shows five men having an argument and there is some shouting. The man whom police have identified as Andrew Walls is seen and heard calling someone the racial slur.
In the video, voices off-camera are heard telling Walls to stop using the word. Morgan is still off-camera at this point. Walls points in her direction, calls her a racial slur and a “b****,” then says “shut your mouth.”
Morgan steps into the frame as Walls winds up, closes his fist and then punches Morgan in the face. She is seen holding her hand to her mouth as Walls swings at someone else. At least two other males step up to defend Morgan by throwing punches at Walls while exclaiming that he had just hit a woman. The video ends as the melee continues.
2. Morgan’s Father Says She Suffered a Concussion
Morgan’s father, David Lee Morgan, Jr, shared the video on Twitter on February 27. The 16-second clip has been viewed more than 50,000 times.
He wrote in a thread, “I’m devastated right now. My 23-year-old daughter Cameron, who wouldn’t hurt anyone and has a heart of gold, was sucker-punched by this racist guy in Highland Square in Akron last night for no reason. She weighs maybe 100 pounds. Can someone please help me identify him! Please! I need to press charges! I’m heartbroken and sick to my stomach.”
Morgan, Jr. told the Akron Beacon Journal that after the punch, the man “dragged his daughter into the street by her hair.” He said his daughter suffered a concussion and that she “saw stars, was unable to eat and blacked out once during the day.” She was treated at a hospital, WKYC-TV reported.
Morgan and her father reported the assault the following day and showed police the video. Police then issued an arrest warrant for Walls.
Walls and Morgan did not know each other, according to WKYC, but there is a connection between the two. The TV station reported that Walls’ mother was Morgan’s 10th grade math teacher.
3. Walls Faces Assault & Weapons Charges
Akron Police Captain Dave Laughlin told the Akron Beacon Journal that by the time police arrived on the scene, the fight was already over. He said Walls was one of the people still there, and that he told officers he was a victim. “[Walls] said he got jumped and they ran away,” Laughlin told the newspaper. No one was arrested.
However, as the newspaper reported, police filed a warrant for Walls’ arrest after viewing the video.
Walls faces charges including assault and “using weapons while intoxicated.” Carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a first-degree misdemeanor in the state of Ohio, according to the legal code.
Walls had a firearm with him during the violent confrontation, witnesses told the Akron Beacon Journal. The witnesses said they spotted a gun tucked into the man’s belt.
Akron Police Captain Dave Laughlin told the newspaper that Walls could also face an “ethnic intimidation” charge because of the racial slur used. Laughlin also told WKYC that the FBI is investigating the incident to determine whether to charge Walls with a federal hate crime.
Cameron later told WJW-TV, “I am just shocked this would happen to me,” Morgan said. “My message to anyone who comes in contact with anything close to any hate crimes, do what’s right. Stand up for what you believe in.”
4. Police Are Investigating if Walls Is a Proud Boys Member
In January 2021, the Akron Beacon Journal published a photo of an Andrew Walls from Akron. The newspaper identified the man in the picture as the vice president of the Akron-Canton chapter of the Proud Boys. The photo was dated September 2019. The photo circulated on social media after the Akron video had started making the rounds.
Laughlin told the Beacon Journal that the Akron Police has not confirmed whether Walls is part of the Proud Boys but that investigators are looking into it.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Proud Boys as a hate group with white nationalist views. The law center includes this explanation on its website:
Established in the midst of the 2016 presidential election by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys are self-described “Western chauvinists” who adamantly deny any connection to the racist “alt-right.” They insist they are simply a fraternal group spreading an “anti-political correctness” and “anti-white guilt” agenda.
The Proud Boys have also been associated with the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. As the AP reported in December, “more than three dozen people charged in the Capitol siege have been identified by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members or associates.”
Morgan’s father spoke with the Huffington Post about this reported connection. He told the outlet he hadn’t thought much about the Proud Boys until now. “This changes a lot for me, in the sense that, I want to get involved now. This happening was time for me to wake the hell up. And I hate that my daughter had to suffer that for me to wake the hell up.”
5. Walls Surrendered to Police on February 28
Laughlin told the Akron Beacon Journal that Walls called the police on February 27 around 9:30 p.m. and agreed to turn himself in. Laughlin said Walls did not show up that night.
Bond was set at $25,000, WJW-TV reported. Walls posted bond and was released from custody on March 1, inmate records showed.