When all was said and done, the 13-year-old victim of a brutal July 9 beating aboard a school bus in Pinellas County, Fla., had a broken arm and two black eyes. His 15-year-old assailants were under arrest, having been charged with aggravated battery.
In its coverage of the horrific event, NBC affiliate WFLA specifies a possible motive: The victim had informed school officials that the older teens had tried to sell him drugs in a school bathroom. The beating was, thus, most likely payback.
But there is something conspicuously absent from the report — the fact that the victim was white and his attackers were black. Is this detail relevant? That remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that if a trio of white teens had assaulted a younger black teen, race would not only have received prominent mention but would have been presented as a likely motive.
The story was recently updated to include a cellphone video of the beatdown recorded by one of the other students, which reveals the race of those involved.
Photos of the three suspects — Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and Lloyd Khemradj — have also been published. But, again, there is no overt mention in the accompanying text of the race of the assailants. In fact, the focus of the story has now become whether the driver, John Moody, was derelict for not physically intervening and should be charged with a crime. Moody, 64, did contact his dispatcher and said, “You gotta get somebody here quick, quick, quick, quick. They’re about to beat this boy to death over here.”
Meantime, yesterday members of the advocacy group Advancement Project descended on the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee to demand that Gov. Rick Scott “end extreme discipline and racial profiling in schools.”
According to a press release received by LU, protesters with the group have been conducting a sleep-in for the past 21 nights at the statehouse to demand “a special legislative session to address the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, racial profiling, and and the school-to-prison pipeline, a cocktail of extreme school discipline policies that punish minor transgressions, such as dress code violations, with suspensions and arrests.”
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