The metro Detroit dancing phenomenon fondly known as “Spaghetti Man” hopes social media help catch a group of teens who attacked him Saturday in downtown Detroit.
People around him at outdoor concerts and his haunt, Boogie Fever Cafe & Disco in Ferndale, usually get up and dance with Brian Alsobrooks, 50, of Sterling Heights. He flails around in brightly colored, secondhand suits stenciled with his nickname, “Spaghetti Man,” luring others to dance for joy in what he calls a “ministry.”
But after he danced around at Detroit River Days on Saturday, “Spaghetti Man” was attacked by more than a dozen teens hurling punches and derogatory names.
Alsobrooks suffered a black eye, sore jaw and bruises from the attack.
“I still have a sore jaw,” Alsobrooks said today. “Thank goodness I didn’t lose any teeth or anything. I’m still a little bit in shock.”
Alsobrooks was walking alone, back to his car at about 11:30 p.m., when he was attacked on Rivard between Jefferson and Lafayette.
“I’m almost to my car and I hear these kids, and I turn around and there’s some little teenage chick and she starts swinging,” said Alsobrooks, who delivers newspapers for a living. “They had me pinned to my car, and start pummeling my head. Fortunately, they didn’t get me to the ground.”
Alsobrooks said he ran during a lull in the attack. Yelling for help, he reached a police officer at Jefferson and Rivard who was directing the heavy flow of traffic leaving the festival. By the time they returned, the group of teens was gone.
During the attack, the teens used both homophobic and racial slurs. Alsobrooks also noticed the teens — eight to 12 of them in their late teens, including three or four girls —taking pictures and possibly videotaping of the attack.
Alsobrooks said he’s hoping someone will come across those photos or video on social media to help identify the teens. He’d like to see them prosecuted both because he was hurt, and to prevent them from being hurt themselves.
“I’d hate to see the kids get all messed up,” Alsobrooks said. “They keep picking out people to beat up, at some point they’re going to run into somebody with a gun. It’s a shame to see kids not doing something more positive with themselves.”
Alsobrooks said the officer took his name but told him to go to a Detroit Police precinct to file a full report. Alsobrooks said he’s still debating whether to follow through — but will for sure if pictures of the teens surface.
Detroit Police Officer Cassandra Lewis with the Office of Public Information said Thursday the department had no comment on the incident.
Alsobrooks’ friend, Jamie Wheatley, 45, of Royal Oak said he posted details about the attack on Facebook Tuesday. By today, the posting had been shared with others more than 1,000 times.
“I’m mad as hell about this,” Wheatley said today. “I wanted people to watch out, if those kids tried to post the pictures, so the police could trace the posting to see who they are.”
Is he not asking for money because he's a class act, or because he's oblivious that kickstarter is now being used to fund self-serving and relatively trivial causes?