NAACP demands upgraded charges for accused attacker released on $5k bond

Wesley Caldwell, accused attacker
Wesley Caldwell, accused attacker(Action News 5)
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 11:17 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Witnesses describe a vicious, unprovoked attack on a Whitehaven golf course. The victim is now on life support at Regional One while the suspect is a free man on a $5,000 dollar bond.

The Memphis chapter of the NAACP said the Shelby County justice system got it wrong in this case. The group’s demanding upgraded charges and a higher bond for the accused assailant.

When a ball from Mark Coleman’s group landed on the green while Wesley Caldwell’s group was putting, a witness told Memphis Police that Caldwell got so upset he swung his putter at Coleman’s head when he came to retrieve the ball.

The club landed with such force, it cracked Coleman’s skull and caused a brain bleed. As Mr. Coleman battles to live, his friends and family now battle for justice.

“You know, he didn’t deserve what happened to him,” NAACP Memphis chapter President Van Turner told Action News 5, “it’s been quite devastating to those who know him.”Coleman was critically injured, hit in the head with a golf club at the Links at Whitehaven golf course, on Dec. 3. Nearly two weeks later, he’s still fighting for his life at the trauma center and the NAACP is fighting for a higher bond for Coleman’s accused attacker, 22-year-old Wesley Caldwell of Nesbit, Mississippi. Caldwell was booked into the Shelby County jail on December 12 and bonded out the same day.

“A high bond is not for every case. A high bond is not for every assailant. But in this case, given the facts, I think $5,000 was just too low,” said Turner.

Caldwell’s criminal record dates back to 2018. His multiple mug shots were taken during arrests in DeSoto County for DUI, reckless driving, retaliation against a public official or witness, and aggravated assault with extreme indifference to life during a domestic dispute.

“What we’re dealing with now with violence and crime in the community, we really have to take a careful look at our bonds and for those that are violent offenders, they need to be put away and not on our streets,” said Turner, who’s known Coleman for more than a decade.

Caldwell’s bond is set to a $5,000 bond based on the aggravated assault charge listed on the affidavit.

Turner would like to see the charge upgraded to attempted murder, now that Caldwell’s criminal history is known.

“The fact that Mark was trying to diffuse the situation and walk away,” he said, “this wasn’t a fight. Mark wasn’t swinging at him or trying to fight him. He was actually walking away and then he was struck in the head so violently.”

On Thursday, Dec. 15, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy’s office issued the following statement”

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office is looking into the incident between Mr. Mark Coleman and Wesley Caldwell that took place at a Whitehaven golf club on Dec. 3. DA Mulroy has consulted with NAACP Memphis Branch President Van Turner regarding the organization’s released statement calling for an upgrade in Mr. Caldwell’s charges.

DA Mulroy understands the concern of Mr. Coleman’s family, friends, and the community and is looking into the matter to determine if the emerging facts of the case align with Mr. Caldwell’s current charge and bond status.

As this is an ongoing investigation, this is the only information we can provide at this time.

In the meantime, Wesley Caldwell walks free while Mark Coleman’s family keeps vigil at the hospital.

“They’re praying. They’re with him every day. They’re holding his hand. They’re making sure he knows he’s loved. You know,” said Turner, “we pray that he pulls through.”

The NAACP said if hate crime charges are appropriate, those should be filed against him, too. Here are the conditions Caldwell must adhere to while out on bond:

*Enjoined from threatening offenses

*No Contact with Victim

*Prohibited use of alcohol or controlled substance

*Prohibited use of firearms or other weapons

*Prohibited Communication via Social Media

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