Earlier this week it was reported that police in Wisconsin were not going to charge black teens who engaged in mob-style attacks at the state fair with hate crimes. That's despite the fact that frantic 911 calls and eyewitness reports said the teens were specifically targeting whites. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that one of those teens has admitted to targeting whites because they were "easy targets." And police are now recommending he face hate crime charges.
This is the AP report (via WLS-890 Am RADIO):
The investigation into 11 of the violent incidents on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair has resulted in the arrest of a 16-year-old African-American who reportedly told investigators he targeted whites.
West Allis police said Thursday the teen was arrested late Wednesday. The Milwaukee teen was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery and robbery. Police recommend that he face additional penalties for hate crimes.
Police say the teen told investigators whites were chosen because he considered them "easy targets."
On opening night of the fair last week, 31 people were arrested and at least 11 people were hurt. The West Allis Police Department has said race was a factor in the 11 violent incidents it's investigating.
The State Fair has stepped up security since the attacks. [Emphasis added]
On Wednesday, however, the West Allis police department released a statement saying that "none" of the attacks "possessed elements" that would prompt hate crime prosecution:
“The police department issued a statement with details of arrests, saying ‘None of these incidents possessed elements that would compel the pursuance of a ‘hate crime’ prosecution.”
Witnesses reported attacks on the opening night of the fair that seemed to be racially motivated with young African Americans beating up white fair goers, but police say at this point there is not enough evidence to support such claims.”
That seems to contradict the AP report.
It also seems to contradict the Justice Department's definition of a hate crime: the “violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability.”
The question that remains, then, is: Was the teen attacking victims because he saw their color as making them weak and views whites as an inherently weaker race? Based on the recommendation by the police that he face hat crime charges, yes.
If so, the police may want to revisit some of the other charges.