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Race crimes in Baltimore: Bus beating victim under witness protection; noose hoax fallout

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 9, 2007 08:21 PM

The black youth mob assault on a white, homeless bus passenger remains a hot-button topic in Baltimore. The local Fox affiliate had an exclusive interview with the beating victim, Sarah Kreager. She details how the accused assailants called her and her boyfriend “white crackers” and “white m-f-ers. According to the report, wounds on her head had to be stapled shut:

According to the Baltimore Sun, Kreager has been placed in a witness protection program:

A law enforcement source close to the investigation said yesterday that Kreager, who is homeless, has entered the state’s attorney’s office’s witness assistance program because officials are concerned for her safety.

The Sun also provides a few details on how the incident might have escalated. Apparently, Kreager had an eye injury before the beating that the accused assailants mocked; it appears during the dragging/punching/beating, they went after her injured eye–breaking bones in her face around the injured eye, in addition to bruising her ribs and causing the head wounds that had to be stapled. Investigators are examining surveillance camera tape as part of the probe. The MTA police continue to probe the racial angle, though the prosecutors’ office remains more circumspect:

As the 26-year-old woman beaten on a public bus by nine middle school students was put into witness protection yesterday, conflicting accounts raised questions about whether the attack was racially motivated.

One of the girls charged in the assault told The Sun yesterday that there were no racial overtones in Tuesday’s after-school incident on West 33rd Street, insisting that no racial slurs were exchanged.

The victim, Sarah Kreager, told The Sun in a telephone interview last night that she feels race might have played a part in the attack, but she said the events spiraled out of control because the adolescents became caught up in actions of their peers.

“A woman at a corner house came out, and she saved my life. I think they would have killed me,” Kreager said.

Maryland Transit Administration officials stood by their earlier statement that they are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime – though they did not release any specifics.

But the city state’s attorney’s office declined to confirm that prosecutors are looking at racial bias as a possible factor in the attack.

Meantime, the Sun’s Gregory Kane excoriates black city officials who jumped all over the recent noose incident that turned out to be a hate crime hoax:

Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, said the noose and notes were threats and that the matter “had to go federal,” as in the guilty party being charged with a federal hate crime.

Henry Burris, president of the Vulcan Blazers, said, “Whoever perpetrated it, whether they know it or not, this has reached the level of a federal hate crime.”

Mayor Sheila Dixon said she was “outraged by this deplorable act of hatred and intimidation. … Threats and racial attacks are unacceptable anywhere – especially in a firehouse.”

Subsequent investigation revealed it was [troubled black firefighter Donald] Maynard who put the noose and the note in the fire station. How did Cheatham, Burris and Dixon react to this news?

Cheatham: “It really saddens us to hear that evidently things have reached a stage that even an African-American does an injustice to himself and his own people as a result of a negative culture in that department.”

Burris: “I’m extremely upset. I believed [Maynard] was telling the truth.”

Dixon, through her spokesman, Sterling Clifford, said that she was “pleased to find out that, in fact, there wasn’t a threat of that nature made” and that she was “disappointed” in Maynard.

Let me get this straight: As long as the suspect was thought to be a white guy, this incident was a threatening act of hatred and intimidation that warranted calling down the wrath of the feds. But since it turned out to be a black guy, now Cheatham, Burris and Dixon are saddened, upset and disappointed. Whatever happened to Burris’ assessment of the situation?

I’ll run that by you again, in case you didn’t get it the first time.

“Whoever perpetrated it, whether they know it or not, this has reached the level of a federal hate crime.”

It strikes me that Maynard comes under that category of “whoever.” And I’m not alone.

“Whether it’s a black member of the department or a white member, it’s still a hate crime,” said Stephan Fugate, who’s president of a union for Baltimore’s fire officers. “If I had put the noose there, whatever penalty would have been directed at me should have been directed toward Mr. Maynard as well.”

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Categories: Baltimore