CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - According to court records it all started Thursday night somewhere near the Dollar General in the Plaza Galleria parking lot.
The victim told police he was walking in the area and saw two white males standing by a truck. He said quote "One of them asked him what are you looking at n-word."
That's when police say the man ran off and headed across Kingshighway and to the Kidd's gas station parking lot.
That's where 23 year-old Jerry Conrad and 18 year-old Timothy Conrad allegedly chased the victim, reportedly tackling him to the ground and hitting him.
"People came in screaming to call 911," said clerk Shonda Babers.
Her Thursday shift at the Kidd's on Kingshighway was anything but typical.
"He was running, running hard and he was scared of something it was one of him and more than one of the other," said Shonda Babers
Babers says she witnessed part of the attack.
"We called 911 and the cops showed up. They took off and the two gentlemen jumped in the car took off around the car screaming language they shouldn't have been screaming."
"We are not going to tolerate any form of racism," said Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle.
Swingle says normally tackling someone and assaulting them without causing serious injury or using a weapon is a misdemeanor.
But, Swingle says the charge can be bumped up.
"It's elevated to a felony of a hate crime assault because the prosecution believes we can prove motive was because of the victim's race," said Swingle.
The suspects tell a different story.
Jerry Conrad told the responding officer that quote "A black male wearing a red shirt and black pants walked up to up to him holding a knife and stated "hey boy". he stated that as soon as he saw the knife he punched the black male in the face."
He went on to say he and his brother Timothy got into a truck with a female to track the man down.
After the alleged incident at Kidd's, the Conrad brothers were arrested down the street outside Schnuck's.
"The defendants claim they're not guilty. They claim they were being robbed and were defending themselves. Ultimately it will be up to a jury to decide what the truth is," said Prosecutor Swingle.
Attempts to reach out to the victim were unsuccessful. According to court records, he complained to police about being hit on the back of the head several times.
The reporting officer said there was a large knot on the victim's head, however he refused medical treatment.
In addition to the hate crime, 18 year-old Timothy Conrad is accused of being under the influence of alcohol. He's also charged with unlawful use of a weapon.
Jerry Conrad is charged with third degree assault-hate crime, a class D felony.
Both could face prison time.