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Witnesses testified Monday in federal court that Randy Metcalf hurled racial slurs at Lamarr Sandridge and two of his white female friends all night before he stomped and kicked Sandridge in the head at the Northside Bar in Dubuque on Jan. 12, 2015.
Becky Burkes, a part-time bartender at Northside, testified she first overheard a dispute over jukebox songs when Metcalf blamed Sandridge's friends for taking his fiancee's credit on the machine. Metcalf called the women offensive names and called Sandridge, the only black man in the bar, the N-word many times.
Owner of the bar, Ted Stackis, testified he also heard the racial slurs by Metcalf and in trying to diffuse the situation, he went outside with Metcalf to smoke marijuana, but was caught off guard when Metcalf started bragging about 'burning crosses years ago” with others who burned crosses in black families' yards in Dubuque. Metcalf then showed Stackis his swastika tattoo on his stomach and offered to take care of any black people for him.
Metcalf, 40 of Dubuque, is charged with committing a hate crime by causing bodily injury to a person based on race. He is accused of repeatedly stomping and kicking Sandridge in the head during a fight at the bar after making 'racially disparaging comments and racial slurs” to him and his female friends, according to the complaint.
The assault was captured on eight video surveillance cameras operating within the bar and on a patio outside the bar, and video of the assault was played for the jurors Monday during the first day of trial. The prosecution will wrap up its case Tuesday morning the defense will start. The jury may have the case on Wednesday.
Burkes said after the jukebox dispute calmed down, Metcalf was still using racial slurs against Sandridge and his friends. The assault happened when Sandridge's friend Katie Flores knocked a cell phone out of Metcalf's fiancee's hand.
The video shows Burkes at one point, banging a broom on the bar, trying to break it up, but to no avail.
Metcalf then grabbed Flores and Sandridge grabbed Metcalf from behind but two friend's of Metcalf's puts Sandridge in a headlock and repeatedly punch him, Burkes said. Sandridge is on the floor, unconscious when Metcalf starts 'kicking and stomping on his head.”
Burkes, who is also nurse at Mercy Hospital, said she tried to push Metcalf and others back and gets in between them and Sandridge.
He's bleeding...I was trying to turn his head,” Burkes said. 'I was afraid he was going to choke or aspirate on blood.”
She then tells Metcalf and his friends to get out and she calls 911, Burkes said. On the video, Metcalf comes back in the bar to get his jacket but then goes over to Sandridge, who's still unconscious on the floor, and agains kicks and stomps him.
Sandridge, 31, of Dubuque, testified he didn't remember the assault or the racial slurs to him. He remembers Metcalf cursing and swearing at his friends and the jukebox argument but doesn't remember anything until he woke up in emergency room.
Sandridge had a broken orbital bone, facial swelling, cuts and bruising to his right eye, a bloodclot in his left eye and a sprained ankle from the assault. He said he couldn't see out of one of his eyes for a few days and still has tightness in his cheek.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt showed photos of Metcalf's swastika tattoos, a large one on his stomach and a smaller tattoo of a skull with a swastika on its forehead to the jurors during his opening statement but he pointed out the stomach tattoo had been changed into another design after the assault.
Melanie Kieper, Metcalf's lawyer, said during her opening they weren't disputing there was an assault or that Metcalf was involved. The prosecutor has the burden and he can't prove Metcalf assaulted Sandridge because he is black.
If Metcalf is convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.