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Update: Police investigating Baltimore bus beating as “possible racially motivated hate crime”

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 7, 2007 09:43 AM

Following up on my post about the beating on the Baltimore bus yesterday, the Baltimore MTA police are emphasizing that there is no evidence the victims in the Baltimore bus attack provoked the incident–and they are pursuing their investigation into the attack as a “possible racially motivated hate crime.” You’ll recall that yesterday the nine assailants’ families claimed that the victims spat or displayed weapons. Not so, say investigators. New details also show that in addition to the brutal beating of Sarah Kreager and her boyfriend, the nine assailants menaced an elderly white passenger and assaulted the black bus operator who came to the victims’ aid. Via the Baltimore Sun:

Maryland Transit Administration Police said last night that they have found no evidence that the severe beating of a 26-year-old woman on a city bus this week was provoked and that they are investigating the attack as a possible racially motivated hate crime.

Nine middle school students have been charged as juveniles with aggravated assault and destruction of property in the Tuesday afternoon attack on a woman and her male companion on the No. 27 bus.

Police said yesterday that they have determined that there were two additional victims in the case – a third passenger and the bus operator who came to his assistance.

Investigators were examining video from a surveillance camera on the bus but had not completed their analysis…

…Jawauna Greene, an MTA spokeswoman, confirmed that investigators were considering racial hostility as a potential motivation for the assault, which left the female victim, Sarah Kreager, 26, with broken facial bones and other injuries after she was punched, kicked and dragged off the bus. Her male companion, Troy Ellis, was also beaten, but not as severely.

“We are at this point investigating it as a hate crime,” Greene said.

Greene said the suspects, who have been released to their parents, are African-American while the two originally identified victims are white. Marzola said the suspects are also believed to have menaced an elderly passenger, who is white, and to have assaulted the bus operator, an African-American male who defended his passenger.

“He probably saved this gentleman’s life,” Marzola said of the operator. The MTA declined to identify the driver, saying they consider him a witness to a crime.

Police said no evidence had been found to back up the claims of suspects’ parents that Kreager or Ellis had provoked the incident by spitting or displaying a knife.

Greene said that at the time the incident reports were taken, no child reported any spitting or knife being pulled. Gavrilis said the operator hadn’t mentioned any provocation.

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