There is a growing controversy in Cincinnati where police had to fight their way into a scene to rescue a white male who was nearly beaten to death at a Fourth of July concert. The video below shows the mob laughing and taunting the nearly dead man lying on the ground. Critics have asked why the beating of the white male by a largely black mob was not immediately identified as a possible hate crime. They charge that, if the situation were reversed, the reaction would have been different in the media and the police. Yet, there is no evidence that I can find that the beating itself was racially motivated. In the end, the behavior of the mob does not have to be racially motivated to shock the conscience as to the lack of humanity and cruelty. Officers were attacked and injured by the crowd as they tried to rescue the unconscious man. While the police at the scene reported the beating as “anti-white,” the police chief later stated that the attack was not racially motivated.
The video itself is quite disturbing as you hear people laughing and enjoying the scene of carnage. It is also worth noting that there are some who can be heard expressing concern and the need for an ambulance.
It is not clear if there was a racial component to the crime and I would not immediately expect a hate crime investigation in such a case. Various blogs however are arguing that the Administration and local officials often immediately pledge to pursue such cases involving a black victim and white officers or assailants as a possible hate crime. I have tended to caution that such early framing of cases can have a distortive or dysfunctional impact absent clear evidence of a racial motivation. For example, while some in this crowd may have been celebrating the fact that the victim was white, it does not mean that the original attack was racially motivated.