August 30 2012
– Religion does not seem to have been a factor in the vicious assault on a Jewish college student, police said.
East Lansing police Captain Jeff Murphy said there was no dispute that Zach Tennen, 19, was seriously assaulted in the early hours of Sunday and suffered a broken jaw.
However the police chief said witnesses have not confirmed Tennen’s account that he attacked after being asked if he was Jewish at a party close to Michigan State University campus.
Detectives also have no evidence that Tennen’s mouth was stapled during the attack as he claimed.
Vicious attack: Zach Tennen, 19, was beaten unconscious and had his jaw broken at a party close to Michigan State University. However police do not believe it was motivated by the fact the student is Jewish
Beaten: College student Zach Tennen (left) said his attackers stapled his mouth when he was unconscious. Police captain Jeff Murphy (right) also disputed this claim
The journalism student, from Franklin in Oakland County, is recovering from jaw surgery. Tennen’s father Bruce says the conclusions by East Lansing police ‘sicken us’.
An 18-year-old man from Farmington Hills is a suspect, although no arrest has been made.
East Lansing police did not return further calls from MailOnline today.
Earlier this week, Zach Tennen said he was set upon by two men who asked if he was Jewish.
The attackers, who claimed to be Ku Klux Klan, then raised their arms in a Nazi salute, saying ‘Heil Hitler’ and began hitting the teenager.
Zach said that while he was passed out, the attackers managed to staple through his gums.
He said: ‘It was coming up in my two bottom teeth and it started in my gum, so, somehow they managed to staple it.’
Vicious assault: Zach Tennen, 19, was recovering at home near Detroit, after he was beaten by two men in an apparent anti-Semitic attack
Violent: Zach indicates where he woke up to find he had a staple in his mouth after being attacked on Sunday
His mother told the Detroit Free Press that around 20 people at the party watched the attack but no one helped her son. He was then thrown out of the party.
The teenager also has a broken jaw below his bottom teeth which required being set with wire.
His family contacted the Anti-Defamation League, an organization which fights anti-Semitism, on account of the assault.
In a statement to MailOnline, ADL Detroit Regional Director Betsy Kellman said: ‘We are horrified by this violent assault and allegations that the student may have been viciously attacked because he was Jewish.
Place of learning: Zach was beaten up close to the East Lansing campus of Michigan State University, pictured
‘We are confident that the East Lansing Police will thoroughly investigate this deeply troubling case and, given the allegations, treat it as a possible hate crime. We hope the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.’
Zach, who graduated from Birmingham Groves High School last year and studies journalism at MSU, said he had drank alcohol at the party but only a small amount.
After his attackers fled, he called a cab to take him to Lansing Sparrow Hospital.
The hospital did not call the police but said that it was standard policy to alert authorities if someone reported being a victim of assault. Zach later had surgery at a Detroit hospital to have his jaw wired shut.
Brutal: Zach Tennen said the men who assaulted him asked if he was Jewish and then made Nazi signs
Injuries: The 19-year-old took a cab to Lansing Sparrow Hospital, pictured, after being beaten unconscious
Michigan State’s Student Affairs and Services released this statement: ‘Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs.
‘MSU will work with the student and his professors to ensure he can fulfill his academic requirements, as we would with any student in need.
‘As the incident occurred off campus in East Lansing, all questions about the police investigation need to go the East Lansing Police Department.’
– Louise Boyle