Thursday, September 13, 2007

No hate crime charges ...

... for the six white "people" charged in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 20-year-old black woman in West Virginia.
I saw on CNN yesterday that the FBI opted to forgo federal hate crime charges because the hate crime conviction in West Virginia carry stiffer penalties.
The only information I found about hate crime conviction is that the penalty carries up to 10 years in West Virginia. I tried to find out what those penalties were for federal charges but I found nothing online that details what the penalties are if they are convicted.
I say "if" because they are still innocent until proven guilty. This is America people. But it is awfully hard to not look at these folks in disgust without saying that they are guilty.
Even with that, some information that was made public yesterday could possibly hurt the state's case to prove this was a hate crime. The county prosecutor released information yesterday that stated the victim and Bobby Brewster had "social relationship." In fact, in July, there was a domestic battery and assault incident involving the two.
According to the police report, the victim was called a "nigger" and was told this was happening to her because she is black. If this had happened under any other circumstances, this would no doubt be considered a hate crime.
Even though I could not find a lot of information on hate crime penalties, I did manage to find a few tidbits on hate crimes in general which is still good information because now we can all identify them when they happen.
As defined on the Civil Rights Program page of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Web site, a hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
Hate itself is no crime and as Americans, we are protected by the First Amendment so we can say whatever we want. The problem comes in when racists, sacrilegious bigots commit crimes because of their hatred.
Hate crimes are investigated by the FBI and information is then forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's office who determines whether or not to prosecute suspects federally or turn over evidence to the states. Most states have their own hate crime legislation and prosecute and punish accordingly. This is what will likely happen in West Virginia.
What I am wondering is if Bobby Brewster's defense attorney will try to have his charges busted back to some sort of domestic dispute since he and the victim have a history. Given the new information, it is quite possible.
Another thing I hope the prosecutor and judge take into consideration is the extensive criminal history of the entire group. CNN reported yesterday that there have been 108 criminal charges, many of them violent, filed against the six since 1991.
First off, why are these people even allowed to walk around free? Bobby Brewster's mother, Frankie, has the most serious charges of them all with a charge of Murder One. She pleaded it down to manslaughter and only served five years. The victim - her son's 84-year-old grandmother.
Secondly, I am not sure if I am all that upset about them opting to not charge them with a hate crime because if they are convicted of all their current charges, maybe they'll get more time.
I swear, it seems like as of late, we are going backwards as a country rather than forward. I was under the impression that we were far removed from these kinds of crimes but sadly, I was almost dead wrong. What do you guys think? Will we ever stop hating and hurting each other based on our racial backgrounds?

***I have decided not to identify the victim by name because I think it is wrong to put her out there like that. She and her mother decided to release her name and some media outlets even have pictures of this woman in her hospital bed, I refuse to do it. If you want to see swollen pictures and learn the identity of this woman, click the link:

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