In reference to the the article "Norfolk paper fires back," from the statements that you report the victim made ("It seemed like four or five guys at a time were hitting me"), the following can be determined; It should not have been investigated as a simple assault. It was an assault by mob.
According to Commonwealth of Virginia code section 18.2-38, any collection of people, assembled for the purpose and with the intention of committing an assault or a battery upon any person or an act of violence, as defined in § 19.2-297.1, without authority of law, shall be deemed a "mob."
"18.2-42. Assault or battery by mob. Any and every person composing a mob which shall commit a simple assault or battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor." This means every person attached to the group, even if they did not throw a blow, is guilty of assault.
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Any and every person composing a mob which shall maliciously or unlawfully shoot, stab, cut or wound any person, or by any means cause him bodily injury with intent to maim, disable, disfigure or kill him, shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony. This means that depending on how you determine the victim's injuries, it could be a misdemeanor or a felony.
How would all parties involved have handled this situation if the group of men and the victims races were reversed?