Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Brooklyn racial assault charged as a hate crime

NYPost:

City lawyers overruled the Police Department and charged a band of Brooklyn toughs with a hate crime for allegedly shouting, "Black power!" as they beat up a group of girls in Marine Park, The Post has learned.

In a case that roiled racial tensions in Brooklyn — and became a rallying point on white-supremacy Web sites — locals are now second-guessing law enforcement.

Cops locked up five of the alleged attackers — all juveniles — but did not charge them with a bias crime.

The city's Corporation Counsel Office, which prosecutes cases in Family Court, raised the charges against the assailants.

Sources said the initial report did not include the comments allegedly made by the suspects. "It should have been a hate crime from day one," fumed one parent.

The attack took place on March 30 in Marine Park as six 15-year-old Catholic schoolgirls were shooting hoops on Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway at about 3 p.m.

Police sources said six to eight black girls from Marine Park JHS marched into the middle of the white girls' three-on-three basketball game and demanded the court.

Some adults intervened and the alleged assailants walked away only to return three or four times with a progressively larger gang, the victims said.

Finally, a posse of 20 to 30 girls set upon the victims with kicks and punches, while shouting, "White crackers," "Black power," and, curiously, "Martin Luther King."

"I thought I was going to die," one girl told The Post. "At first they just walked on our court. We didn't say anything. But they kept coming back. It looked like the crowd got bigger every time they came back."

Several girls ran into traffic and another fled to a nearby house to ring a doorbell for help only to be dragged off the stoop by her hair, the victims said.

A girl's mother said she drove over to the playground during the assault.

"I drove into it, because I didn't have my house keys," the woman said. "I saw havoc on the streets when I drove up. My daughter said, 'Ma they're going to kill us.' "

She managed to drive back into the park and collect the other five girls. Two girls were taken to a local hospital. One suffered a torn muscle in the forearm, had a chunk of her hair pulled out, and received a CAT scan because of kicks to the head.

The second suffered a broken nose and a black eye. Police arrested five suspects, who were still nearby, after a witness pointed them out to officers.

One parent said she and the other parents are planning to obtain a lawyer and take legal action — though she couldn't specify exactly what action would be taken.

The attack left racial tensions simmering.

"If you look at our community in Brooklyn, [hate crimes] are not down," said state Sen. Carl Kruger. "This is another reminder."

In the news:

ONE LAW FOR ALL

Rev. Peterson Calls for Prosecution of Black Mob in The Beating of Six 15-Yr-Old White Girls

Around the Blogosphere:

It’s a Hate Crime After All

Got To Be A First!

When A Hate Crime Isn’t A Hate Crime

At Last – Hate Crime Charges Brought

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