By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck police are investigating a possible hate crime that led to the stabbing death of an African-American man at around 3:30 a.m. on Conant.
According to police sources, three white men, who are heavily tattooed and described as being hardcore punk fans, are in custody for slashing the throat of a Hamtramck man, who police found bleeding to death on Conant.
The suspects may have come from Smalls Bar on Conant and Caniff where four hardcore bands had played, police say.
As of Saturday afternoon, police were not releasing the names of the deceased or the suspects, however by early evening a press release was scheduled to be issued.
Michigan State Police were called in to help gather evidence. If the homicide is the result of a hate crime, police say federal authorities may be called in to assist in the investigation.
One of the suspects was driven by a friend to Wayne Hospital. Hospital officials alerted Hamtramck police, and officers went to the hospital to arrest the suspect and the person who drove him.
The suspect is under armed guard and is scheduled to have surgery on his hand.
By 1 p.m., Saturday, Hamtramck firefighters were still washing down Conant, from Caniff to Yemans.
Police say the fight started out with words being exchange, to pushing match and then knives were drawn out. The suspects and victim apparently were stabbing each other down several blocks on Conant.
The owner of Smalls Bar could not be reached.
The names of the bands playing at the bar Friday included: “Cro-Mags,” “Death in Custody,” “Smash Your Enemies” and “The Family.”
Some bands in the hard core punk scene espouse racial hatred toward minorities.
Dean Elliot, an attorney representing Smalls, said the bands that played Friday night do not promote racism.
“Two of the bands on the bill have African-American members, and the producer of the show is Asian-American,” Elliot said.
One of the bands, the Cro-Mags, has played at Smalls three other times without incident, he said.
Elliot also said there were no fights during the show, and that the bar closed at 2 a.m.
As for the suspects, he said “we don’t know where these guys came from.”
This story was edited on Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. and on Oct. 14.