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Minnesota TV Journalist Could Face Permanent Vision Damage After He Was Attacked For Looking 'Homosexual'

Matt Belanger/Facebook

Matt Belanger, a journalist for Minneapolis, Minnesota's KSTP-TV went through an unexpected and painful ordeal while commuting to work on May 12.

While walking across the platform of the train station, Belanger was deliberately struck in the eye according to the complaint filed by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.


The complaint, according to NBC News, went on to explain that the suspect, Vennie Jerome Williams "perceived that the victim was homosexual." The motive for the attack became clear upon Williams' arrest, when he launched into a profane, homophobic rant in the back of the police car.

Williams was charged with third-degree assault and harassment with intent to injure. Both carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine.

The county attorney's complaint also included a statement regarding Belanger's medical condition:

"Victim is required to remain seated upright at all times and is only supposed to move in essential situations."

NBC News went on to report that Belanger could permanently lose vision in his left eye.

Belanger's doctor advised that he remain home and avoid all unnecessary activity.

Two days after the attack, Matt Belanger shared a post on Facebook with some updated information about his medical situation. He also expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support he's received.

He wore an eye patch throughout the video.

"I just wanted to post on Facebook here saying how deeply grateful I am for all of the notes and messages that you've been sending me from all across Minnesota, from across the country in fact."

Belanger also took a moment to express how eager he was to get back to his job.

"It's hard, honestly, to be at home sidelined right now at a time when our viewers, I feel, need journalists on TV perhaps now more than ever."

The support continued to pour out in the comments beneath his video.

Pafoua My Yange/Facebook


Lisa Chockla-Simkanin/Facebook


Christine Wiese/Facebook


Jen Bowe/Facebook

Twitter expressed anger over the unprovoked attack.




Best wishes and a speedy recovery to Belanger after this senseless act of violence.