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Prosecutor: No Charges In Alleged Hate Crime Attack Of MSU Student

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EAST LANSING (WWJ/AP) - A prosecutor says no charges will be brought following an investigation into an assault on a Michigan State University student who claimed he was punched and had his jaw broken after revealing he’s Jewish.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart J. Dunnings III announced the decision Thursday. He said he believes there was no evidence of any ethnic, religious or racial bias involved.

So what was the motivation for the attack?

“Do I know? Yes. Am I going to tell you? No, because these people are entitled to their privacy,” Dunnings told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil. “The constitution of the state of Michigan ensures victims a right to privacy and since no charges are being filed I don’t feel it’s my place to violate that.”

East Lansing police investigated the Aug. 26 attack on Zach Tennen, who had said that it was “shameful” that such “religious hatred exists in our country.”

The 19-year-old sophomore said he was at a house party on the 500 block of Spartan Avenue when two men approached him and asked if he was Jewish. When he responded “Yes,” Tennen claims the two men raised their arms into a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” before knocking him unconscious. Tennen said about 20 people watched as the men proceeded to staple his mouth shut at the lips and gums.

An investigation of the attack led police to an 18-year-old suspect, but after talking to about 50 witnesses, police questioned if a hate crime actually took place. The suspect, who is from Farmington Hills, was interviewed but not arrested.

A letter issued by a spokesperson for the Tennen family said they are “grateful for the professionalism of law enforcement and the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office in conducting a full and fair investigation of this matter,” adding that “justice will best be served by closing the investigation at this time.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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