Predictably, the police chief is claiming that this incident is not a hate crime, despite witnesses saying that racial slurs were hurled at the two victims as they were being beaten up. That’s one of the things police look for in determining which crimes are “hate crimes.” If there were racial or other slurs hurled at the victims in the midst of the attack, police would generally designate it a hate crime. Especially if the victims are black, and the suspects are white. If the victims happen to be white and the suspects black, it’s very rare for such an instance to be deemed a hate crime.
The Daily Caller reported on one such incident involving two white military vets who made the mistake of walking into a Waffle House in Mississippi while being white:
The altercation began about 1 a.m. when Ralph Weems IV and friend David Knighten chose to go inside the Waffle House. Knighten said they made this decision after a man in the parking lot diplomatically suggested that they should leave because the patrons inside were angry about the Aug. 9 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Thus, the unidentified man explained, the restaurant would not be a safe place for two white people.
According to Knighten, Weems, 32, began arguing with customers not long after he entered the Waffle House. It’s not clear what was said or what was in dispute. After the police eventually showed up, Weems and Knighten left.
On the way home, the pair decided to stop at a Huddle House — a similar, less iconic eatery that dots the South. The Huddle House was in West Point. Miss.
A group of people followed Weems and Knighten to the mostly empty Huddle House parking lot. A security guard told everyone to leave. However, Weems and Knighten found that some of the men had blocked their way.
Witnesses described the attackers as black but otherwise could not identify them.
Knighten, an Air Force veteran who fought in the war in Afghanistan, said he attempted to calm the hostilities, to no avail.
The people who came for Weems attacked him. He ended up on the ground, getting brutally kicked.
Knighten also suffered several injuries as he tried but failed to help his friend.
“All my injuries were minor fractures and lacerations,” he explained on Facebook, according to The Clarion-Ledger. “I just wish I could have reached him sooner. Please keep your thoughts and prayers on Ralph.”
Knighten added: “I do remember racial slurs being yelled from the crowd.”
Police failed to arrive on the scene until the crowd had dispersed.
Then here’s the real kicker from the local police chief:
“This does not appear to be a hate crime. It’s very early in this investigation but thus far the evidence and statements suggest that a verbal altercation turned physical and somebody got hurt.”
So hurt in fact that Weems required brain surgery. He’s currently in a medically-induced coma following his operation.
I’m not advocating having this prosecuted as a hate crime. Just pointing out how easy it is to show the racial biases that government officials hold. If the races had been reversed in this situation, this would be instantly classified as a hate crime, whether or not racial slurs were uttered. And it would be given wall-to-wall coverage in the media.