Sunday, August 30, 2009

11 Year Old Beaten In Crown Heights Bias Attack

It's a beautiful playground, on the side of a public school. After school hours, it is opened to the public. Unfortunately, Nechama Benjamin, 11 years old of Crown Heights Brooklyn found that what is true according to law is not true according to practice. The Daily News reported as follows about what has not yet been classified as a bias attack.

An 11-year-old Jewish girl was attacked at a Crown Heights playground by a band of black youths who slammed her into a metal slide, kicked her repeatedly - and pelted her with anti-Semitic invective, the girl's mom said Wednesday.

"Dumb Jew! B----! Why are you here? Why are you in this world?" the boys screamed as they pummeled Nechama Benjamin at a Montgomery St. playground early Tuesday evening.

The shocking attack by at least three boys is being investigated by police. The beating caused Nechama to black out and left her with a bloody nose - and a terrible fear of leaving home, her mom said.

"My daughter told me she is afraid to go out, to go to the park - to go anywhere," said Elka Benjamin, 31.

"Nechama went to the local park with her 6-year-old brother around 6 p.m. Although Crown Heights has long been plagued by racial and religious tension, Nechama's mother thought it was okay for her kids to go to the playground alone because the family lives on the same block.

Trouble started when one of a group of boys playing soccer tossed the ball at Nechama, hitting her in the leg, her mother said.

She tossed it back - and an argument ensued. The boys surrounded Nechama, taunting her mercilessly, her mother said.

Then the boys grabbed her by the hair and dragged her from the bench to a playground slide."

The attack was serious enough that Greisman had to go to an emergency room after complaining of dizziness. It was determined that she had suffered a concussion during the attack. The response at the 71st precinct, in which the playground is located was underwhelming. Police who questioned the victim said that her story "didn't add up" and there was nothing they could do. Despite a witness and evidence that an attack had taken place, the city crime statistics will record no bias attack as having taken place on Tuesday the 26th of August. Crime is down. And the city has the statistics to prove it.

Getting the police to classify an by a black on a white or a Jewish victim as a bias attack is almost impossible. There is paperwork to fill out. It messes up the crime stats. So you interrogate the victims and save yourself that much more paperwork when the victims throw their hands up in disgust and walk out.

In most matters, African Americans and Jews living together in Crown Heights face a lot of the same problems. There are street robberies, cars being broken into. There are drive by shootings that are kept out of the papers so the street gangs won't proudly flash news clippings of their lethal handiwork. Then there are the "ticket blitzes" during which the city attempts to balance its books on the backs of working people. The perception is that crime is a lot worse as well as the legalised robbery of the "ticket blitzes".

Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to add to the increasing crime by turning different colour skin into the uniform of the enemy.

The Greisman playground beating brings home to me a truth that everyone can see. Bias laws are unevenly enforced. A lot of people in government will not classify an attack on a white or a Jew as a bias attack unless they get notarised statements from the assailants that they were motivated by racial, ethnic or religious prejudice. If hate crime laws are not evenly enforced, then there should be no hate crime laws. For the time being, there is no sign on the Montgomery Street playground saying "Jews Not Welcome." But there may as well be.

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