RICHMOND, Va. -- The Uber driver whose weekend attack in Richmond's Fan District was recorded and shared on social media has called on the public to help find the men who left him cut and bruised. Bradley Johnson, 59, was seen on cell phone video repeatedly punched and left injured while on his way to pick up an Uber passenger early Sunday morning.
"I remember hitting the ground and hitting my head on the pavement. I remember getting up a couple more times with the same result of getting hit and knocked to the ground," Johnson recalled.
Video of the incident showed a group of people in the street, blocking traffic, and playing loud music at the intersection of West Grace and Allison Streets.
“The victim attempted to drive through the intersection when two males approached the vehicle. One of the suspects took the victim’s cell phone. When the victim attempted to exit the vehicle to retrieve his phone another suspect struck the victim multiple times,” a Richmond Police spokesperson said.
The video then showed the men approach the van, where they appeared to punch the driver. When they pulled him out of his van, the assault continued.
Johnson said after the suspects took off he attempted to get the license plate number of a potential witness who appeared to be friends with his attackers. He described being hit by that car and rolling on the ground where he stayed until paramedics arrived.
"I worry about the next person who might come along if this behavior isn’t changed and may be harmed even worse than I was," Johnson stated.
The father, who doesn't live in the area, hoped someone recognized his attackers from the video.
The attackers took Johnson's phone. It was recovered by a jogger a few blocks away.
"Take some responsibility for your actions," Johnson pleaded. "Anybody in the community who can bring to light so this behavior is stopped would be my request, my plea."
Johnson was left with multiple scrapes, a bruised left eye, bruises on his arms and legs, and a sprained wrist. He said he is disabled after several spinal surgeries and two knee replacements that his attack has only exacerbated.
The suspects fled the scene both on foot and in a bright orange Ford Mustang sedan, according to police.
The two suspects were by police as black men approximately 25-35 years of age.
The first suspect was last seen wearing a white North Face sweatshirt, jeans, white shoes and has a goatee. The second suspect was last seen wearing an orange collared shirt with jeans and Timberland boots.
Police have classified the crime as a simple assault, however, Richmond City Councilperson Kim Gray hoped those charges would be upgraded once more details were learned and witnesses come forward to identify those involved.
Sources said that Richmond Police have good leads in their investigation.
Detectives asked anyone with any information about the identity of these suspects to call Third Precinct Detective A. Davila at (804) 646-1069 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
ABC agents investigating nearby cigar bar
A cigar bar situated in Richmond's Fan District is being investigated by Virginia ABC special agents after multiple recent complaints. The investigation follows Johnson's attack that occurred near the Cornerstone Cigar Bar bar over the weekend.
A Virginia ABC spokesperson said in a statement:
Based on complaints we have received from nearby residents about the Cornerstone Cigar Bar & Restaurant, we are working with the Richmond Police Department and conducting an investigation to determine if activities at ABC-licensed establishments in that area (not just at Cornerstone) are contributing to problems in nearby neighborhoods. Our agents will typically gather information from nearby residents and businesses following a complaint about a licensee. Any facts discovered during this investigation will determine if any ABC action is necessary.
That spokesperson would not name the additional establishments included in their investigation.
Neighbors along West Grace Street were questioned by Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control special agents about the Cornerstone Cigar Bar Wednesday afternoon.
The bar is located at West Broad and North Allison Streets.
Xantea Bowe said two agents knocked on her door.
"Two officers asked me some questions about Cornerstone, about that area, what I witnessed," Bowe explained. "I told them what I know about the fights and stuff."
An employee at Nirvana Hair Studio located on West Broad Street neighboring the bar said ABC agents also asked about dealings surrounding the establishment.
Bowe said she had witnessed unruly crowds and experienced property damage ever since the cigar bar opened in January.
"People rowdy in the street and fights breaking out. I've caught several people in my backyard going through things the same time as Cornerstone opened up," the mother said.
Councilperson Gray said she's received emails and calls complaining about an increase in crime and disorder tied to the bar for months.
"If you’re going to create a nuisance in the community I'm coming for you," Gray stated.
Attempts to reach the owners of the Cornerstone Cigar Bar were unsuccessful.
"I'm not going to say it’s completely Cornerstone, but it’s just getting a little ridiculous how it’s changed [since they moved in]," Bowe explained.