Man accused of beating Black neighbor to pulp charged with misdemeanor, victim says attack was racist
- Collin Joseph Fries, 25, was arrested for violently assaulting 50-year-old Elliott Reed on October 29 while Reed was out on his daily morning bike ride around his neighborhood in Seabrook, Texas.
- Reed, who is Black, reported that Fries repeatedly called him the N-word before beating him unconscious.
- Fries was released from jail on $100 bond on October 31, according to court documents, and is currently being charged with misdemeanor assault.
Elliot Reed, 50, was out on his daily morning bike ride in his Seabrook, Texas, neighborhood on October 29 when 25-year-old Collin Joseph Fries pulled his vehicle up alongside him at a stop sign and began harassing him.
“You need to get out of this neighborhood because you’re making a lot of people nervous,” Fries, a white man, told Reed, a Black man, as reported by ABC13.
According to the police incident report obtained by Bicycling, the assault happened near the 100 block of Hampton Springs Drive and Lakeside Drive. Both Reed and Fries live nearby.
In an interview with ABC13, Reed said he crossed the median of the road to try to distance himself from Fries, but Fries followed him and continued harassing him. “You don’t live here, and if I catch you, I’m gonna do something to you,” Fries threatened, according to Reed.
Fries got out of his car, and that’s when Reed said the man started calling him the N-word, several times over.
Reed tried telling Fries that he did indeed live in the Seabrook neighborhood, at one point flagging down a nearby neighbor to verify. Reed also began recording the altercation with his cell phone. Fries then chased Reed across the road and onto the sidewalk and started attacking him.
As confirmed by two eye-witnesses in the police incident report, Fries began punching Reed until he was unconscious, then continued to beat him.
Reed physically suffered a fractured cheekbone, cuts to his face requiring numerous stitches, a broken tooth, and a burst blood vessel in his eye.
Fries was arrested nearby soon after. According to court documents obtained by Bicycling, he’s currently being charged with misdemeanor assault bodily injury and potentially faces up to a year in county jail and up to $4,000 in fines.
However, in the incident report by Seabrook police, who responded to the attack, it’s described as “assault causes serious bodily injury,” which would be a felony. The initial arrest charge by Seabrook police is also listed as “assault causes serious bodily injury.” Bicycling reached out to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office about the discrepancy in Fries’s charge—and about what constitutes serious bodily injury and whether his assault will also be prosecuted as a hate crime.
A representative for the district attorney’s office told Bicycling:
“This matter remains under investigation. When police come to us with a possible crime, it is the beginning of the process, not the end, as we review all the evidence and apply the law to make charging determinations.
In this matter, a prosecutor advised an officer that he would need to present documented medical evidence, such as a statement from a treating physician at the hospital, that the injuries met the legal definition of Serious Bodily Injury, in order for an increased charge to be filed. The officer has yet to get back with prosecutors with any such evidence.
When the prosecutors did not hear back from the officer, they subpoenaed medical records for review and we do not yet have those records.
A treating physician must be willing testify that the below standard has been met: (46) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
“What happens with regard to whether a charge is increased or a hate crime enhancement is added will depend upon the totality of the evidence,” a representative for the D.A.’s office told ABC13.
Reed’s wife, Angie, was also interviewed by ABC13.
“He was attacked because he [is] Black,” she said. “I don’t care where you live, you don’t deserve to be disrespected by the color of your skin.”
Fries was released from jail on a $100 bond on October 31, according to court documents. His next court date is December 9, in a non-trial setting.