February 15, 2007
Justice takes a beating in Long Beach racial hatred case
While these "kids" could have killed their victims, the judge slapped them on the wrists lightly and sent them home. Astoundingly, after finding the nine defendants guilty of intent to cause bodily harm, with hate crime enhancements, the judge then reversed direction and gave them probation?
A tenth youth was acquitted.
The basic facts of the case are that last Halloween, a pack of black youths, with no evidence of any provocation, set upon three young white women who had come to an upscale part of Long Beach known to attract trick-or-treaters. Out of the larger crowd of attackers, 10 were identified and placed on trial.
After a lengthy process, that saw witness intimidation from gang members (one was forced to move; another had her car totaled), the expectation was -- that if found guilty -- a verdict and sentence would be handed down that delivered a strong message of intolerance for such uncivilized acts.
Instead, another message was delivered -- that racism in its black guise will be treated with leniency and "understanding," since this kind of racial retribution is an undesirable but understandable outgrowth of historic mistreatment at the hands of whites. What complete rubbish.
In case you wondered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Affairs, out of the 1.2 million cases of interracial crimes each year, 90 percent involve a black perpetrator and a white victim. The interests of law and order and a civil society were not served well by this judge's sentences.
What highlights the crass, crude and bigoted nature of this ugly mass attack is the fact that Loren Hyman, one of the three victims, is both Jewish and Latino, but like a pack of hyenas converging on some yearling antelopes, this crowd was in no mood to parse out the finer points of ethnic and religious identity.
However, while these defendants have escaped culpability, others have not been brought before any judge. Ten black youths were put on trial, but it has been estimated that between 25 to 40 black teens surrounded Hyman, Laura Schneider and Michelle Smith last Halloween.
This was no routine youthful fracas -- the attacks left Loren with more than a dozen facial fractures, a serious injury to her jaw, partial loss of sight in one eye and a recessed eye socket. Schneider was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion.
One male attacker knocked one of the girls unconscious with a skateboard, while another was stomped as she lay unconscious.
According to both victims and witnesses, the attackers hurled anti-white slurs while beating the girls.
And to add insult to injury, on the day that four of the defendants were being released from custody to the comfort of their homes, Hyman was undergoing a seven-hour surgery to repair her shattered eye socket -- the outcome of which is still unknown.
The rationale for giving probation, say Juvenile Court officials, is to promote rehabilitation -- something presumably a harsher sentence couldn't have accomplished? But, how can rehabilitation occur, when the parents and the teens have remained defiant, without any remorse.
Yes, they admit they were there but claim somebody else beat the girls. OK, I get it. They're not guilty of an ugly assault; they're actually, uh, victims.
But then the whole affair is bizarre, lodged squarely in the midst of the politics of racial identity. What if the scenario were reversed? For instance, what if the pack of black thugs who attacked these girls was white skinheads and their victims had been several young black youths?
Would the national media have virtually ignored the incident? Would every nationally known black leader have swooped into town, set up an encampment at the Long Beach Courthouse and demanded justice for the victims?
Wouldn't everybody from the mayor to the governor and beyond be demanding that the judge send a message against racism? And, what if a judge handed down a sentence of probation for the skinhead scumbags -- would the city have escaped massive "social justice" marches, with its leaders lustily yelling, "No justice, no peace"? Get the picture?
Some of us still remember the ugly incident on the first day of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, you know, the one where white trucker Reginald Denny was set upon by several black thugs and nearly killed, simply for being white and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some excused the actions of the thugs who beat Denny, saying it was misdirected black rage, but in no way was it racism.
Fast forward that tape to 2007, and we find Farai Chedeya, a black National Public Radio show host, saying shortly after the Long Beach attacks that "... some people say black folks cannot be racists because the root of the issue is power."
What a convenient dodge. I wonder if that came to the mind of the victim as a black thug broke a skateboard over her head, sending her into unconsciousness. Now that's power.
Joe Hicks is the former executive director of the L.A. chapter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is currently vice president of Community Advocates Inc. and a KFI-AM talk show host.