Gainesville police are investigating the beating of a 27-year-old man that they believe to have been "racially motivated".
The man was walking home from midtown bars in Gainesville early Saturday morning when he said he was jumped by five to eight men who yelled "Trayvon" before the attack.
The shouting sounds to be a reference to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami native who was shot and killed in February in Sanford while walking back to his father's girlfriend's house. George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, has not been charged.
Martin's case has stirred controversy around the nation. He was an unarmed black teenager who was killed by Zimmerman, who was a Hispanic crime-watch volunteer.
Gainesville investigators told The Gainesville Sun that they believe the attack stemmed from the Martin case.
"We do believe that the crime was racially motivated," Gainesville Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Angelina Valuri said.
Valuri said the victim was white and the attackers were black.
Police said the victim had been drinking, so the only description he had of the attackers or their vehicle was that is was a mid-size vehicle. But Valuri did say that the victim's injuries were consistent with being jumped by a group.
The victim told police that he was beaten for five minutes. He had injuries to his left eye, abrasions to his palms and a cut on his right knee cap. Valuri said he would likely have permanent damage to the left side of his face. He was taken to Shands Gainesville for treatment.
The attack happened around 2:45 a.m. Saturday morning on Southwest 23rd Terrace, when the victim said a vehicle approached him and stopped.
A group of men got out and told him he was talking too slowly. The victim said they then proceeded to shout "trayvon", then beat him.