BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Eric Robert Channing, 32, was arrested yesterday morning and charged with simple battery and disorderly conduct after another homeless man reported that Channing offered him a place to sleep, then burned him with a cigarette and called him a racial epithet.
The victim reported that Channing invited him to sleep on the property of the St. Augustine Church (1738 W. University Ave.) on Sunday night but that Channing called him a racial epithet while he was there, so he left. The victim said he returned to the property after midnight and went to sleep; at about 2:00 a.m., he woke up when Channing placed the lit end of a cigarette on his pinky toe, leaving a burn mark.
Post Miranda, Channing reportedly said he slept alone overnight but later contradicted that by saying the victim slept near him throughout the night. He repeatedly called the victim a racial epithet multiple times in the presence of a Gainesville Police Department officer and two witnesses, leading to the disorderly conduct charge.
Channing is unemployed and has reportedly been in the area for about a year. Since his first arrest in May of 2021, he has two felony convictions and seven misdemeanor convictions; he also has out-of-county convictions between 2009 and 2021. He has two pending misdemeanor cases for trespassing and theft. He is being held on $15,000 bail.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.