WITNESSES SOUGHT TO ELLIS SQ. INCIDENT

SAVANNAH, GA (September 2, 2012) Metro police are seeking witnesses or participants to a incident in Downtown’s Ellis Square in which a 23-year-old Savannah man was injured.

 Andrew Quade of a West 31st Street address was hospitalized after the August 25 incident in Ellis Square. Media outlets have portrayed the fight as a hate crime because the victim is white and the other participants black, but the investigation so far does not support hate crime allegations.

 Police Chief Willie Lovett said the implication a hate crime had occurred before the investigation could take place was unfortunate.

 “Such labels are serious,” he said. “They impede the investigation and they taint our community unfairly. Our department advised that we were still investigating the incident and were not able to discuss it at that point but the portrayal of a hate crime still was used.”

 Videos obtained by the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Violent Crimes detectives show Quade talking with his girlfriend, who is black, when a group of black men walk by about 30 feet away, with one apparently making a comment to the female.

 The video shows Quade in a conversation with the men as he walked towards them across one of the large planters in the square, then approaching the men, returning to take off his watch and then walking towards the men again.

 A second video shows Quade again confronting the group of men in the crowded square, a black man apparently attempting to quell the confrontation, and Quade fighting with at least one participant of the group. Other members of the group then join in.

 Police have released the video to aid the investigation. Multiple attempts by police to contact Mr. Quade for interview have been unsuccessful.

 The investigation has been underway since it occurred that Saturday morning, but police have been unable to identify other participants or additional witnesses to interview them.

 Anyone who witnessed the incident or participated is asked to call SCMPD Violent Crimes Detective Alan Sammons at (912) 651-6728 or Crimestoppers at (912) 234-2020.  Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

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