Chalk up another entry in the recent string of racially motivated assaults. Today's story comes from Norfolk, Virginia, where a white couple were beaten savagely by a group of (according to reports) between 30 and 100 black youths. Apparently, the beating was so brutal that the couple could only manage to scream out the intersection at which they were located - "Church and Brambleton" - as the blows rained down:
The victim's friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location.
Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton.
It happened four blocks from where they work, here at The Virginian-Pilot.
Two weeks have passed since reporters Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami - friends to me and many others at the newspaper - were attacked on a Saturday night as they drove home from a show at the Attucks Theatre. They had stopped at a red light, in a crowd of at least 100 young people walking on the sidewalk. Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that's when the beating began.
Neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster's torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami fears to be alone in her home. Forster wishes he'd stayed in the car.
Notice the rub in the story? Both the victims are reporters. Specifically, reporters for PilotOnline, the website of the Virginian Pilot, where the story first broke. Except it didn't break in a news story - it broke in an opinion piece. Indeed, the Pilot appears to have completely ignored the story, despite it involving their own reporters, and having multiple angles.
This decision seems even more bizarre when you realize that one of those angles is arguably police negligence. See also the Pilot article's description of how both victims were treated when police arrived on the scene:
Forster and Rostami wondered if the officer who answered their call treated all crime victims the same way. When Rostami, who admits she was hysterical, tried to describe what had happened, she says the officer told her to shut up and get in the car. Both said the officer did not record any names of witnesses who stopped to help. Rostami said the officer told them the attackers were "probably juveniles anyway. What are we going to do? Find their parents and tell them?"
The officer pointed to public housing in the area and said large groups of teenagers look for trouble on the weekends. "It's what they do," he told Forster.
Could that be true? Could violent mobs of teens be so commonplace in Norfolk that police and victims have no recourse?
So this story involves a cop who is, at bare minimum, insensitive, a seemingly completely random yet racially motivated beating, and a pair of reporters. And it hasn't been covered by the paper they worked for. What gives? WorldNetDaily thinks there might be a political correctness component to this:
The newspaper is coming under heavy criticism today from residents in the greater Norfolk area, known as Hampton Roads.
“It is unbelievable that the Virginian-Pilot would BURY this story for two weeks for politically correct reasons. That is sad and disgusting,” said David Englert of Norfolk. “Someone should be fired or resign over the decision not to report this attack. It is a sad enough commentary on our society and community to read about how the responding police viewed this crime, but for our only newspaper to decide that they will hide from the truth rather than report the truth is PATHETIC! Any attack by a mob of people on any innocent victim should be put under a bright spotlight for all involved to be judged and exposed as appropriate, and to make sure that the criminal justice system does its job to protect those who obey the law.”
Now, in fairness to the Pilot, it should be noted that no evidence has surfaced suggesting the story was ignored for reasons of political correctness. In fact, the paper has explicitly stated their reason for not covering the story was to avoid the appearance of giving too much coverage to their own people:
As Shelly noted in her column, we handled this situation as if it involved any two people in our community. Police, at this point, still have it officially listed as a “simple assault.” It has not been determined that this was a hate crime. It’s beyond ludicrous for folks to assume that we would not report on this to protect those who attacked our reporters.
Misguided, perhaps, but hardly criminal.
But then there is the question of why the youth in question attacked this pair of seemingly innocent people. In that regard, these two tweets, reported after the incident by the Pilot, may suffice as explanation:
"I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light," wrote one person.
"I don't," wrote another, indicating laughter. "(do it for trayvon martin)"
Fortunately, other news sources have been covering the story. This video report from Norfolk's Channel 13 WVEC gives us more details:
H/T Drudge Report
Carousel police car image courtesy Shutterstock.com