Friday, May 12, 2017

Milwaukee Muslim Woman Attacked - Police Say Not Hate Crime

About a month ago, this story made national news: “Beat me like an animal:” Muslim woman says attacker ripped off her hijab, cut her with knife

From FOX6 News:

A Muslim woman was attacked as she walked home from prayer. Milwaukee police tell FOX6 News they are investigating the crime that occurred near South 13th and Layton. The incident happened Monday morning, April 10th around 6:00 a.m. -- and the victim was just released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. The details of the crime have some in the Islamic community saying it was a hate crime.

The woman said her attacker threw her to the sidewalk, and then stepped down on her head repeatedly. She described him taking out a knife to cut her jacket and her arm.

...

"Nothing was stolen. There was no robbery. Her valuables remain with her. The only motive we can think of -- because everything stayed with her and this individual went straight for her scarf is a hate crime," said [Munjed Ahmad with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee].

The victim somehow made it home. That's where she had a seizure and was taken to the hospital. She said during the beating, the attacker was calling her names and swearing at her.
CAIR, no surprise, got involved.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for a hate crime investigation after a Muslim woman in Milwaukee said she was beaten. CAIR said the incidents are part of “almost daily” attacks on American Muslims and other minority groups nationwide in recent months.
Yesterday, Mark Belling reported that the police investigation of the incident did not reveal the attack to be a hate crime.

Last month, Belling had discovered in his discussions with police that the woman didn't report the incident to the police until many hours after she said it occurred, even though she was injured. Strange. She said the attack occurred at a very busy intersection. So, why weren't there many witnesses? Also, the police said the woman went to the hospital for a medical matter unrelated to the attack. That wasn't what FOX6 implied. Moreover, Milwaukee police did not take the woman's bloody hijab into evidence.

These odd aspects of the story prompted Belling to call for some aggressive reporting on the incident.

Belling said he contacted reporters that covered the story in April, Myra Sanchick from FOX6 and a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He suggested that they do follow-ups.

Belling himself checked with Milwaukee police and he said they're "being guarded" about what they're saying related to the incident. The statement he received from Sgt. Tim Gauerke, the public administration officer for the police department, said there have been no arrests in the case, and "based on the victim's statements, the police department does not believe that the victim's religion had anything to do with the incident."

Milwaukee police do not believe this was a hate crime.

Since the story made national news, it certainly should be reported that this horrible hate crime that happened on Milwaukee's south side was not a hate crime. The original reporting sold a narrative that didn't match reality.

This should be big news. It should at least get as much attention as the story received initially.

Apparently, the hate crime was newsworthy, but it's not newsworthy to correct the report when police determine that a hate crime did not occur.

What is the point of journalism?

Is it to inform the public of the truth?

Was the truth in this case something the media preferred to ignore after it turned out to be other than a hate crime?

It's good news that a woman was not attacked on a Milwaukee street because of her religious attire. Mark Belling was the only one to report that.

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