What a difference a day makes.
A decision by Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell to call a brutal beating of a white man on the Fourth of July a hate crime is causing some to wonder just what is going on in the city.
Police initially described the mob attack on Christopher McKnight, 27, as “anti-white,” but walked the claim back at a news conference, saying it was a “mistake.” McKnight suffered a broken nose and concussion in the vicious beating that took place as a hip-hop concert was ending.
Enter Blackwell, who is now asking prosecutors to pursue hate crime charges, according to 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,” spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said in a statement. “Often, hate/bias elements become evident only after thorough investigation and review of the available evidence.”
The attack was captured on video and went viral, prompting a tremendous public outcry, but it’s not clear if that impacted Blackwell’s decision.
“The Police Department acknowledges there has been a tremendous amount of public comment and outrage in connection with this incident,” Hardy said, calling on the the public “to remain patient” while the case is adjudicated.
The Enquirer reported that six people have been arrested in connection with the case, but no one has been charged with a hate crime — it will be up to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office to pursue the charge with a grand jury.
Mayor John Cranley said the attack was “unacceptable,” but downplayed any racial component, saying it was a one-time event brought on by having too few officers at a concert aimed at teenagers and allowing it to end after the city’s curfew.
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