Home / National News / Jewish Michigan Student Attack Not Hate Crime, Cops Say


(LANSING, Mich.) — A Michigan college student who claimed he was attacked and his mouth stapled because he was Jewish has been contradicted by police who say the fight might have been about a girl.

Michigan State University student Zachary Tennen was attacked by two other students at an off-campus party on Saturday, according to police. Tennen, 19, told ABC News affiliate WXYZ that he was taunted about being Jewish before the men became physical with him.

“They mentioned that they’re Nazis and they’re in the KKK,” Tennen said. “They came up behind me and punched me across the jaw. They knocked me unconscious and I found a staple in me after.”

Tennen took a taxi to a hospital, where doctors found a staple in his mouth before wiring his broken jaw shut.

Police in East Lansing, Mich., however, said Tuesday that they did not believe the attack was a hate crime, and privately told the Tennens that they believed the fight was over a girl.

Police said in a statement released to ABC News that they had interviewed two witnesses and identified a suspect, though the incident was still under investigation.

Tennen’s father, Bruce Tennen, told WXYZ that he disagrees with the police, and that his son talked to very few girls at the party and had never had a long-term girlfriend.

“I think this is a heinous crime and it sickens me,” Bruce Tennen said, adding that if police arrest and charge someone just with assault, he will hire his own lawyer and try to pursue an ethnic intimidation or hate crime in federal court.

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