Matthew Roy, Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads), September 24, 2007
In the video, the 13-year-old boy struggled to stay on his feet as several youths punched and pushed him from all sides. When he finally went down, the blows didn’t cease; he tried to protect his face and head with his hands. As he pleaded for them to stop, he was kicked in the face.
After the weekend beating in Ocean View, which lasted less than 40 seconds, the boy struggled to his feet, his face bloody.
The youth, Damin O’Rourke, who only recently moved to Norfolk’s West Ocean View from North Carolina, was left with bruises and scrapes. Police have identified several assailants—juveniles who they said could face misdemeanor assault charges.
Damin is white; his assailants are black. Still, police said in a news release: “The assault does not appear to be racially motivated according to information gathered by investigators that we are unable to release.” The city’s Gang Squad was investigating, said Officer Chris Amos, police spokesman.
The incident comes on the heels of a march that drew thousands to Jena, La., to protest the treatment of several black youths who were charged with serious crimes in connection with an assault on a white youth. While the circumstances were very different—protesters in Jena said the young defendants were being treated too harshly—the national news media, and some international news outlets, nonetheless took an interest in the Norfolk case.
Damin, a seventh-grader at Northside Middle School, spoke about the beating Monday at his family’s home on Hickory Street. He said it started without provocation or warning around 5 p.m. Saturday at Marlow and Orange avenues.
He said several people attacked him. Most were strangers, he said, although one went to Northside Middle School.
The attack was videotaped by a youth from the neighborhood who uses a camera to capture images of skateboarding, said Damin, who refused to identify the boy. He said the youth gave his family a copy of what he recorded; they, in turn, released it to news outlets.
WVEC reported that the youth with the camera had been threatened at school for taping the assault.
Police acknowledged the Gang Squad was investigating but did not otherwise reveal any theories about what may have been the motive for the assault.