Thursday, December 22, 2005

St. Paul bus stop beating - haven't we been here before?

The St. Paul bus stop beatdown is sickeningly reminiscent of a crime in the spring of 2005 in Minneapolis, covered ably by Swanblog. Here's a sample:

The Star Tribune finally covered the story of the 15 year-old boy who was dragged from a Minneapolis Metro Transit bus, beaten and robbed. There are a number of interesting twists to the media coverage, as well as the story itself.

The Strib used the word "riot" in a story about North Minneapolis, albeit quoting from the formal charges filed by authorities. This is noteworthy because "
melee" was the term of art to describe racial unrest in 2002. The Star Tribune coverage of the 2002 riot was similar in that the state's largest newspaper was late with the story.

None of the coverage (
here, here, and here) mentions this as a "hate crime." The local Fox/UPN affiliates did describe the taunts of "white boy."
The St. Paul case is frighteningly similar:

Five teenagers have been charged for an apparent random beating Tuesday at a St. Paul bus stop and police say they videotaped the entire thing.

Police say the 18-year-old man was beaten at the intersection of Rice St. and University Ave. in the shadow of the state capitol.

Police say six teens--who are between the ages of 14- and 17-years-old-- assaulted the man. Police have made five arrests, but the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.
There was an early report that the criminals in this case, like the previous case, are black, and the victim a caucasion. This raises the spector of "reverse" hate crime, as with the Minneapolis incident. News reports with that angle seem to have been scrubbed, and that information no longer appears.

If anyone has a cite for early news reports on this matter which mention "hate crime", please email the URLs to: Thank you.