ADDED: I looked to see how the NYT handled the story. On a front page sidebar right now, there's:
Race is clearly stated. What's not mentioned is that the "white teenager" is mentally disabled. And the word "beaten" doesn't describe the attack accurately at all.
On the "U.S." page within the NYT there's:
That's a big reference to race, but with no specificity about which races are involved and who's attacking whom. Again, the verb is "beat" (not "torture").
The newest article — which went up in the last hour — is not linked from the front page or the U.S. page. I found it by searching the archive: "The Latest: Police: Race Not Motive Behind Video Attack." This is an AP article, with no photograph or video.
Chicago police say they don't believe a man beaten in an assault broadcast live on Facebook was targeted because he was white.But the attackers are saying "Fuck white people" as they torture the white man! How did the police arrive at this strange belief?
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday morning that charges are expected soon against four black suspects. Guglielmi says the suspects made "terrible racist statements" during the attack, but that investigators believe the victim was targeted because he has special needs, not because of his race.I didn't watch the video. I don't intend to. Do the attackers make statements about the young man's disability? Does the fact that attackers choose a weak victim mean that no other factors were involved? Would they have selected a mentally disabled black victim if they'd found one first?
Guglielmi says it's possible the suspects were trying to extort something from the victim's family. Video from Chicago media outlets appears to show someone off-camera using profanities about "white people" and President-elect Donald Trump. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Wednesday that the victim has mental health challenges, and he called the video "sickening."I guess one way to build "the strongest case" is to forget about the hate crime element. It's just one more thing the government has to prove. But why then ever prosecute hate crimes? If you already have a physical attack, why make proving the case more difficult? Answering that question, the government must avoid viewpoint discrimination. It must not be that you go the extra distance and charge a hate crime when the hate goes in the way that you want to highlight for public consumption and you forget about it when it doesn't serve your agenda.
Guglielmi said police are working with prosecutors "to build the strongest case."
AND: As you consider whether the attack was motivated by racism against white people, consider whether the press coverage exemplifies racism against black people. Ironically and unwittingly, the journalists' speech betrays a negative stereotype about black people — that their words are not to be taken as seriously as the words of white people. That is an old and shameful stereotype.
MORE: The hate crime question focuses on whether the victim was selected because of his race, and the police seem to think that the man's disability is what made him a target. We can understand how cowardly people looking for a victim might choose someone weak. That's also a reason for choosing a female or an old or a small victim. It seems easier. But victims have multiple characteristics. If you were looking for an easy victim, you might select a small, old, disabled female. Now, add race. If you were an evil coward looking for the easiest victim, would you take race into account? Remember the Wisconsin State Fairground attacks in August 2011:
Police in West Allis, Wis., say some attacks by black teenagers on white people outside the gates of the Wisconsin State Fair on Aug. 4 were racially motivated and should be prosecuted as hate crimes.
One African-American teenager arrested Wednesday confirmed witness statements suggesting that the large group of black teens, who had originally fought among themselves, specifically targeted white people as they spilled out of the large fairgrounds on the outskirts of Milwaukee at closing time. According to the West Allis Police, he said he personally picked out white people because they were "easy targets."