Community steps forward after brutal downtown assault
A brutal assault during the early morning hours of Feb. 6 in downtown Brainerd left one man with significant head injuries, another man with a year-long jail sentence and a third man with a prison sentence.
The victim, Willie Navy, and his two attackers, Lucas Eastwood and Travis Campbell, had been drinking at Yesterday’s Gone. According to a bar employee, Eastwood had wanted to fight Navy because Navy was black. Navy was the last person to leave the bar, and at South Eighth and Laurel streets they confronted and attacked Navy, punching him to the ground then kicking him while he was on the ground.
Navy suffered numerous head injuries during the assault. According to statements made in court, Navy’s injuries included significant face trauma and fractured bones around his eye for which he received several months of treatment. The injuries caused dizziness, light-headedness, double vision, scarring to his left cornea, fluid leakage, light sensitivity, headaches and the inability for both eyes to track together.
Eastwood, 28, Backus, was charged in Crow Wing County District Court with felony first-degree assault, felony kidnapping to facilitate a felony or flight, felony third-degree assault and gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault motivated by bias.
Campbell, 30, Pequot Lakes, was charged Tuesday with felony first-degree assault, felony third-degree assault and gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault motivated by bias
Many in the community rallied to Navy’s support, appearing at initial court hearings for Eastwood and Campbell. Businesses donated proceeds from sales and a fund was set up by a resident to help Navy offset the cost of his medical treatment.
In September Eastwood pleaded guilty to felony first-degree assault and in October he was sentenced to 103 months in prison.
Campbell also had pleaded guilty to felony first-degree assault in September, but a judge rejected his plea after Navy’s attorney objected to a statement Campbell made as part of the plea agreement. Campbell jury trial is now set for Jan. 9.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.