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Mass. Couple Alleges Racial Beating

July 8, 1998

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) _ An interracial couple celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary was harassed by racial slurs, and when the husband complained he said he was beaten by men with baseball bats.

The husband, Charles Love, moved to Massachusetts 15 years ago from Jasper, Texas, where a black man was dragged to death behind a pickup truck last month.

Police arrested Jeffrey Klier, 43, on charges of attempted murder, civil rights violations and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded innocent Monday and was held in lieu of a $75,000 bond. Two more suspects are being sought.

The attack began at an Independence Day cookout, said Love’s wife, Brandy.

When several people drove by shouting racial epithets, she said she recognized Klier. She and her husband went to his house to confront him.

``Charles got out of the car and was standing there asking, `What is your problem? I have not had any problem with you all these years and now you are calling my wife ``nigger lover.″ It is unnecessary,‴ said Mrs. Love, who is white.

Two men then attacked her husband with aluminum baseball bats, knocking him to the ground and yelling slurs, she said. They chased her to her car, Mrs. Love said, and Klier smashed the windows.

Love’s jaw was shattered. He was in stable condition at Lawrence General Hospital after surgery Tuesday.

Essex County prosecutors described Klier as a ``career criminal″ with 13 previous convictions for burglaries and assaults, but no record of past civil rights violations.

James Byrd Jr., was dragged to death along a country road outside Jasper on June 7. Three white men have been charged with his murder.

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