UPDATE: Antonio Hollingsworth was arrested Tuesday night for commercial burglary. Right now, he is the only person facing charges in the incident NAPA Auto Parts is not commenting about what happened at the business.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Mississippi man says he was beaten and knocked out cold by three men at an auto parts store, but he’s the one who ended up in handcuffs.
Antonio Hollingworth said it happened Friday at NAPA Auto Parts in Cleveland. He said one of his attackers took a picture of him after they assaulted him right in front of officers.
“He was bringing me out of the garage, and I guess police were coming and he slammed me on a truck,” said Hollingsworth. “A guy came out while I was in the handcuffs and took a picture of me.”
That picture, which shows how badly Hollingsworth was hurt, somehow made its way onto Facebook and has since been shared numerous times by people who say they want justice for Hollingsworth.
Hollingworth’s niece Sharita Wysinger posted it to her page. She said her uncle was nearly beaten to death by three white men and said police made matters worse.
“Antonio made it clear to the officers he didn’t do anything. He was minding his business when they came over and assaulted him,” said Sharita Wysinger. “When the officers arrived, they told them not to arrest the other guys who assaulted Antonio but to arrest Antonio.”
Cleveland Police Chief Charles “Buster” Bingham said they got a call about a burglary in progress and a fight at NAPA Auto Parts on South Davis.
He said when officers arrived, someone was standing at the shop door telling police to hurry and Hollingsworth was escorted out of the building by two men.
Chief Bingham said Hollingsworth was placed in handcuffs before he was transported to the hospital because he was identified as the suspected burglar.
Hollingsworth said he was just walking through the parking lot when he was attacked by employees there and held against his will.
“A guy called me and asked if I was Isaiah or Isaac and swung on me. And we started fighting, and his brother came and grabbed me, and he hit me with something and knocked me out, and when I woke up, I was inside the garage,” said Hollingsworth.
Chief Bingham said they wanted to talk to Hollingsworth about the incident but haven’t been able to find him since he was released from the hospital.
“My attorney told me not to talk to anyone. I am afraid to talk to them. I’m really dodging them,” said Hollingsworth.
Hollingworth said he had broken bones under his eye, and his vision is impaired. He says his family has been in touch with a civil rights attorney.