After initially backing away from reports that the July 4 beating of a white man by a black mob was racially motivated, Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell is now pushing for hate crime charges to be filed.
As we reported earlier this week, 27-year-old Christopher McKnight was brutally attacked in Fountain Square after a hip-hop concert by a group of black teens who choked and punched the victim, leaving him hospitalized with serious internal injuries.
The incident led to a mini-riot during which police officers and bystanders were also assaulted by the mob.
A police report initially stated that the incident was being treated as an “anti-white” racial attack, but Capt. Mike Neville subsequently backed offthat explanation, asserting that the beating was not racially motivated.
This caused a firestorm of controversy across social media and the Internet, with many citing the case as another example of how black on white violence is being downplayed and ignored by authorities.
However, “Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell has reconsidered and is asking Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to pursue hate crime charges,” reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“In many cases, a hate/bias relationship between the offender(s) and suspect(s) may not be easily apparent at the time of, or even shortly after the commission of the offense,” police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said in a press release. “Often, hate/bias elements become evident only after thorough investigation and review of the available evidence.”
Authorities also noted how “public comment and outrage” concerning the incident was a key factor in the consideration of hate crime charges.
The Hong Kong-based TomoNews has released an animated recreation of the attack which can be viewed below.