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Politics didn't provoke the assault but escalated the incident

It was the day after the election when a 49-year-old was about to make a left-hand turn on a West Side street and another car scraped the side of his Pontiac Bonneville.

It shouldn't have been a big deal. The man pulled over and parked to exchange insurance information but, he told the Chicago Tribune, "the next thing that I knew they were beating the s--- out of me."

According to a cellphone video shot by a passerby, it appears that the man is knocked to the pavement. Then, five people gather around menacingly and others stop to watch. One person straddles the man and begins punching him with both fists.

Bystanders begin to call taunts including "beat his ass," "you voted Trump" and "don't Trump." They laugh as the man struggles to protect his face while two people kick and hit him. He tries to get up, to get back to the safety of his car, but an assailant punches him until he slumps down.

When someone tries to get into the driver's seat of his Bonneville, however, the man tries to pull him out, grabbing onto the door frame as people try to shove him away. The car pulls out, its owner clinging to the side while people try to make him let go.

"The guy went to 70 and 80 mph. If I let go, I was dead. He slowed to 45," the man told reporters. "He tried to push the door open. ...So he stepped on it again." The driver continued to swerve, speed up and slow down, apparently in an effort to shake loose the owner of the car.

The man stared in terror at oncoming traffic clinging to the frame of his car. When the car thief slowed to around 45 mph again, the owner jumped or fell into traffic, rolling five to seven times. Miraculously, he was not struck by a passing car.

Assault and car theft are very serious crimes, but they generally aren't charged as federal crimes. That said, it's interesting that the bystanders' taunts seemed to target the man as a Trump supporter. When federal crimes are clearly motivated by bias, a conviction can result in an enhanced penalty.

Was the man a Trump supporter? Yes, as it turns out -- but he doesn't think there is any way his assailants could have known that. The man thinks a bystander dismissed him as "one of them white boy Trump guys" and others took to the idea and began egging on the attackers. "They intensified it, aggravated it and made it more than it was."

Police said they are investigating the incident, but no one is in custody yet.

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