FLINT TWP. — Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has 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.
Damire Canell Palmer has been 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 15.
As shown by surveillance video from Macy’s, Palmer was seen walking around the store before he approached and punched the manager in the head from behind. Palmer then knocked the manager to the floor and continued to strike him while he was still down. Palmer then exited the store with another man.
Prosecutor Leyton indicated that despite public comments made 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 added.
Leyton also noted that the phone conversation between the store manager and another Macy’s employee prior to the incident was not recorded. He also said there is no audio on the Macy’s store surveillance video, contrary to what some had indicated on social media and other reports online.
Leyton said that 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,” Leyton said.
At press time, police are still searching for Palmer. Once arrested, he will be arraigned on the felony charge in 67th District Court. — B.G.