Surveillance Shows Attackers in Alleged Halloween Hate Crime

WNBC-TV (New York), November 2, 2007

A group of white teenagers said they were the victims of a hate crime on Howard Beach.

The teens said their attackers, both Hispanic and black, called them ‘white boys’ and other names as they pummeled them inside a McDonald’s on Wednesday, Halloween night.

When police arrived on the scene, they retrieved two weapons: a hammer and a broken stickball bat.

Surveillance video taken from stores near the McDonald’s on Cross Bay Boulevard showed a large group of people, some carrying sticks and other metal objects.

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“When the black or Hispanic young man leaves the area, as he walks away, eggs are thrown at him,” said New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “As he walks away, eggs are thrown at him. Again, last night being Halloween. A few minutes later, a group reported to be anywhere from 30 to 40, mostly black and Hispanic, some of them carrying sticks, arrive back and go into a McDonald’s where two of the young men apparently from the initial group were assaulted. One was punched in the face, the other one was hit with what appeared to be a stickball bat.”

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Another victim needed seven staples in the back of his head, police said. Police initially arrested eight people, but only charged five men, all from Brooklyn, with assault. They were not charged with a bias crime, although the police report indicates it is being investigated as such.

The families of the victims said there is no doubt the teens were attacked because they are white.

“‘I’m going to kill you white boys,’” Dawn said the alleged attackers told her son. “‘I’m going to kill you white M-F’ers.’”

Race has been a thorny issue in Howard Beach since 1986, when a dozen white teens chased a 23-year-old black man, Michael Griffith, onto the Belt Parkway where he was killed by a car.

Residents said they resent the fact their community is perceived through this incident, and they are also resentful that Wednesday night’s incident isn’t being characterized as a bias crime.

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