Zadar Police: Attack on US Air Force Members Not Motivated by Hate

Daniela Rogulj

December 21, 2019 – A criminal investigation into the physical assault of two U.S. citizens at a Zadar club has been completed, Zadar police said, noting that hatred was not a motive for the acts committed.

Jutarnji List reports that the police officers from the Criminal Police Service and the First Zadar Police Station completed a criminal investigation into two Croatian citizens, ages 19 and 33, on suspicion of physically assaulting two US citizens, aged 24 and 25, on October 20 at 3:15 a.m. at a hospitality facility at Obala Kralja Tomislava in Zadar. The 24- and 25-year-olds suffered from minor injuries, while the 25-year-old refused medical treatment, police said in a statement, adding that several witness interviews and other measures were conducted as part of the criminal investigation and actions within the jurisdiction of the police.

Following the criminal investigation against a 19-year-old and a 33-year-old, an indictment was filed for misdemeanors under Article 6 of the Law on Misdemeanors Against Public Order and Peace.

The research conducted so far has not identified a criminal element or that hate was a motive for the offense, police said, adding that the criminal investigation was continuing.

Recall, two black members of the United States Air Force were brutally attacked in October at the Opera nightclub in Zadar. On holiday from Virginia and Georgia, the two Americans were assaulted after they were seen ‘twerking’ at the nightclub, which led other nightclubbers to believe they were gay.

It was reported then that several Croatian men attacked the US airmen, which resulted in a trip to the local hospital where they were given medical attention for their injuries. 

“Last night, we experienced one of the worst moments in our lives. A group of eight to ten Croatian men attacked us at the club. I have never felt so helpless in my life. It seemed like they did not want to let us live,” said the 24-year-old American, who shared his experience on social media.

The Zadar police confirmed to then that an incident occurred on Saturday night at the Opera nightclub involving two American citizens, aged 25 and 24. Police received the report at about 3:20 am., and the attack happened at about 3:10 am. The police reported that the attack on the two Americans involved several unidentified persons who inflicted minor bodily harm by striking them with their hands and feet. They added that they are working intensively to determine the identity of the attackers and the reasons they attacked at all. The Opera nightclub is owned by the Zagreb-based ‘Nas 4’ company, that is, the former Hvar mayor Pjerino Bebic and his business partner Slobodan Matenda from Split.

“A journey that started so beautifully ended in such a horrible way, but I am grateful that my friend and I are alive! We have a few bumps and bruises, but we’ll be fine,” said the 24-year-old from Doerun, Georgia. His friend, a 25-year-old from Richmond, Virginia, shared the same story from the Zadar hospital. They name a local girl who helped them to the hospital as their angel. 

You can see their accounts of what happened in the videos below.

The soldiers flew from Zadar to Frankfurt the following day. 

“Thank you to everyone who gave us support. We are finally back home,” said the US airmen after the incident. 

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