Man wanted in assault of Air Force mechanic during Kerrick trial protest

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Surveillance has been obtained of the person Charlotte-Mecklenburg police believe may have assaulted a 23-year-old armed forces member during a protest in Charlotte last month.

The man, described as a black male around 5’8″ and 170 pounds with shoulder-length dreadlocks, is wanted in the assault. Matthew Whitehurst was punched on Aug. 22 on E. Trade Street, leaving him with a fractured jaw.

Matthew, an Air Force jet engine mechanic, said he and some friends walked by the Transit Center just as protesters against the Randall Kerrick mistrial got to the area. He said they were assaulted and he was sucker-punched from behind.

Matthew’s father, Todd Whitehurst, said his son and two friends spent Saturday night at the Panthers game. They left early and headed uptown for some pizza.

Todd Whitehurst said his son told him that he “turned around, saw a black male with a red bandana and dreadlocks as the one he said hit him. And there was probably 15 to 20 of them that looked like that.”

Matthew and his friends said they walked immediately about a half block to where police were standing and filed a police report.

Todd Whitehurst said “Charlotte-Mecklenburg police did not at their request go down to where those guys were hanging out to point them out.”

Matthew refused medical attention, but he didn’t make it very far when his friends were forced to call an Uber driver for a ride to the hospital.

“I just drove my son home who has his jaw wired shut, and a mandible fracture in two with a plate and his jaw wired shut. And he threw up on the way home with his mouth shut,” Todd Whitehurst said after his son was out of surgery.

A week after the attack, Todd Whitehurst said Matthew was “recovering well,” but is ready for the wires from the surgery to come off.

The man wanted in the case was last seen wearing a red shirt. CMPD says the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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