Tuesday, April 18, 2006

No justice for white NYU student murdered by blacks

Jim Kouri:

Many residents in New York City are unhappy with the disposition of the killing of a white New York University student by four black youths who chased him into oncoming traffic resulting in the student's death.

First, the New York City Police Department refused to charges the four perpetrators with a bias crime. A spokesperson with the NYPD claimed the killing was not racially motivated even though one of the suspects was heard screaming "get the white boy!" The NYPD spokesperson said the case was being treated as a robbery, not a hate crime.

However, the prosecutor said the four street toughs would be charged as adults. The initial charges were second-degree murder and robbery.

However, Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today that a New York County grand jury has completed hearing evidence in the case involving the four teenagers which resulted in the death of Broderick Hehman, the 20-year-old NYU student.

He said that the grand jury has decided that the charges against the four teenagers, two 15 year olds and two 13 year olds, will be transferred to New York City Family Court.

Today’s determination by the grand jury was the result of a week-long investigation. The evidence discovered by the District Attorney’s office revealed that Mr. Hehman was approached by a group of teenagers. He was held in a bear hug and punched in the side of his head. The teenagers also attempted to rob him.

The victim succeeded in breaking free from his attackers but the group pursued him and converged on him from two sides. He was chased into the street where he was struck by a car. Mr. Hehman sustained fractures to the base of the skull and the side of his head. He suffered cerebral trauma and died at Harlem Hospital days later.

Under the New York State Penal Law, youths under the age of 16 may be charged in State Supreme Court only with certain designated felonies, and they may be charged only with completed crimes. Youths under 16 may not be charged with attempts. The law does permit 15 year olds to be charged with Felony Murder, but only in cases where the underlying felony is a completed offense.

The law does not permit 13 year olds to be charged with Felony Murder under any circumstance. In this case, the evidence disclosed that the robbery of Mr. Hehman was never completed, since the victim fled before his assailants could take his property.

One NYPD police officer said, on condition of anonymity, "This is a travesty. These street punks are getting a slap on the wrist. They did complete a felony -- assault -- when they grabbed the student and punched him. They just didn't want to throw the book at these kids."

He also said, "They didn't want to charge them with a bias crime because they don't want the [crime] stats to show a black-on-white bias crime. You can be sure if the roles were reversed -- if it were a white-on-black incident -- it would have been treated as a bias crime."

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