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August 30, 2010
Racial mob violence in America's heartland?
This year's Iowa State Fair was marked by incidents of racially charged violence that culminated with "beat whitey night" on Friday, August 20. Within hours after word of the racially motivated attacks leaked out, the Des Moines police and local officials were fully engaged in a containment operation. The Des Moines Register reports that.
Des Moines police investigators are unable to confirm weekend violence that occurred outside the Iowa State Fairgrounds was racially motivated, officials said today.
Police Captain Randy Dawson claims that he could not confirm information filed in an official police report which said there were between 30 and 40 individuals roaming the fairgrounds proclaiming that it was "beat whitey night." The report in question was written by Sgt. Dave Murillo, a 32 year police veteran. According to the Register.
Sgt. Murillo wrote the report regarding an attack by a group of individuals which left a Polk City man with serious injuries. After speaking with the victim, Murillo spoke with fair officials, the Iowa State Police and Sgt. David Seybert who was working at the fair while off-duty. Regarding the information provided by Sgt. Seybert.
"I knew from talking to him, I could tell by the tone of his voice, that he was giving me credible information based on his own observation," Murillo said today. "That's why I thought it was relevant to put in the police report."
Although Police Chief Judy Bradshaw supports Sgt. Murillo's handling of the incident, she was quick to refute statements made on the following Monday by Sgt. Lori Lavorato who said that "it was very possible the incidents had racial overtones." Chief Bradshaw responded by saying "That's a huge statement that, quite frankly, can provoke emotions on both sides of the issue." Bradshaw downplayed the significance that "the victims were white" and that "the offenders were African-American," since the police had yet to determine the cause of the attacks.
Thus far there have been a total of 11 arrests stemming from a number of attacks at the fair between August 14-22, the police are continuing to investigate. If anything this is being treated as an isolated incident and certainly not indicative of any brewing racial tensions in America.
On June 27, 2009 Marty Marshall, his wife, two teenage children and two friends returned home after watching the fireworks at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio when they were the victims of a similar attack. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that.
Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted "This is our world" and "This is a black world" as they confronted Marshall and his family.
Marshall was attacked as he tried to help his friend, his 15 year old daughter Rachel was pushed to the ground by several of the mob while his wife (Yvonne) hid in the bushes with their 14 year old son Donald. After several minutes the attackers fled the scene leaving the Marshall's and their friends fearing for their safety and wondering why they were attacked.
Marshall was the most seriously injured. He suffered a concussion and multiple bruises to his head and eye. He spent five nights in the critical care unit at Akron General Medical Center.
The Akron police chose not to classify the brutal attack as a racial hate crime. The Marshall's and their friends were certain that they could identify several of the attackers, but as yet (14 months later) there is no new information on the case.
"This makes you think about your freedom," Marshall said. "In all reality where is your freedom when you have this going on."
Other than local media there has been no coverage of these attacks and the police seem unwilling to address these violent attacks as hate crimes. How many more incidents like these have been overlooked or suppressed? Perhaps Attorney General Eric Holder was correct when he said we were "a nation of cowards" on matters of race. Then again given the DOJ's position on this issue perhaps Marty Marshall was right when he said "In all reality where is your freedom when you have this going on."