Bloomington Teen Charged in Alleged Hate Crime Attacks

Sharon K. Wolfe, Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), April 14, 2009

A 19-year-old Bloomington man was charged Monday after police said up to a dozen teenagers blocked the street near Oak and Mulberry early Saturday afternoon and harassed a woman in her car.

Brett Lane, 19, of the 900 block of West Olive Street, was charged with aggravated battery, court documents said.

The woman, 24, was driving near Mulberry and Oak streets a few minutes after noon while on her way to visit her brother, 34, who lives in the 500 block of North Mason Street, police said. When the brother came up and asked the group to let his sister’s car through, he was jumped by four or five teens, police said.

While the man was beaten, others in the mob threw rocks, bricks and debris at the sister and two of the brother’s roommates, police said.

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Some screamed racially derogatory names, Moss said. One person yelled, “This is our neighborhood, white boy,” Moss said.

The teenagers were black, Moss said.

Police do not know why the group surrounded the car or fought with the three roommates, Moss said.

There is no indication the victims knew the attackers, but the incident is being treated as a hate crime, Moss said. Police continue to investigate.

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Lane was the only person arrested as of Monday.

While Lane initially was booked on additional, preliminary charges, the aggravated battery charge was the only one filed by prosecutors on Monday.

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