Dubuque Police: Social media lead to assault suspect arrest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Police: Social media lead to assault suspect arrest

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Dubuque Police said social media helped them arrest an assault suspect in Dubuque on Friday.

Thomas Grant, 20, of Dubuque was arrested Friday morning for assault causing serious injury.

Police said on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014, Spencer Beaver was at Comiskey Park in Dubuque when he was punched in the face by another man he did not know. Beaver collapsed and the suspect punched him in the fast a second time. Beaver has a fractured jaw and damage to his teeth. Police said the injuries to his mouth and ears are likely permanent.

Terry Tobin is the Assistant Police Chief in Dubuque. He said the department became aware of a YouTube video of the beating on social media. He said the video gave a clear view of what actually took place on July 1st. He said it was enough to issue a search warrant to Thomas Grant, who they believed was the suspect.

"This is probably our best example of being able to take social media information and then apply it to a case as evidence and be able to solve that case," said Tobin.

Jennifer Beaver, Spencer's mom, said he knew there was a video floating around on the internet of the beating. She said she had spent the past months searching online for the video, until one day a family friend sent her a link.

"The first time I threw up after I watched it," said Beaver, "I would stay up until three or four o'clock in the morning searching for it, not sleeping. Then when I finally gave up hope it came to me," said Beaver.

Beaver said she immediately contacted the Dubuque Police Department about the video.

"We did not have really good witness information coming in on it. It had been a case that we continued to work, but we were in need of some kind of a break," said Tobin.

Beaver also posted a link to the YouTube video on social media in hopes someone would help identify the man beating her son.

"When I posted that whole thing on there, asking for the communities help...I got so many messages of people who wanted to remain anonymous that kept saying the same name over and over again," said Beaver.

The link helped lead to Thomas Grants arrests, the man who police and others identified as the man in the video.

If convicted Grant could face up to 5 years incarceration and a fine between $750 and $7,500.

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