Over Memorial Day weekend, Bobby Gavin, 21, and his cousin Jonathan Herring, 19, were on their way home from the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ. They encountered a group of five Hispanic men between the ages of 25-35, who told the boys that they “don’t belong here,” and when the cousins attempted to walk around them, they were attacked. They were not robbed.
Bobby’s injuries were particularly damaging, as his eyeball socket and sinus cavity were crushed and titanium had to be screwed into his skull. A mesh plate is now keeping his eye in place. His medical bills cost about $100,000. He was three weeks away from getting his electrician license. Now he faces cognitive problems and suffers daily headaches.
When the family went to the police, they were told that there were “two stabbings” and “numerous beatings,” and the cousins were “lucky that they were not shot or stabbed.” When Bobby’s mom pointed out that the Hispanic attackers told the cousins that they “did not belong,” Detective Rivera told her that “Hate crimes don’t happen to white people.”
The men are still at large.
While the perpetrators have not been caught and their motives are pure speculation, is it really such a stretch to consider that there may have been a racist element to this crime? If different rules apply to different people based on skin color, how is justice blind?
The mentality of the detective foreshadows a dangerous (and racist) precedent.
If there must be a “hate crime” designation, it must applied consistently, regardless of which race is targeted.
To help the Gavin family with medical expenses, click here.
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