A tragic, but simple scenario played out on the streets of New York last week – a theft of a cheap dirt bike and a chase in which three young men made bad decisions that led to a heartbreaking ending.
Heartbreaking and tragic, yes – but racist?
That would be the take local media is trying to put on the event even when there is no evidence whatsoever that race played a part when two young men tried to make a getaway with a stolen dirt bike.
Keenen King, 19 and Anthony Garriques, 20, grabbed the bike and took off, but instead of letting law enforcement handle the theft or possibly because they didn’t believe the police would do anything about the theft, 27-year-old Christopher Bouchard and his brother chased down the thieves in a minivan.
And, sadly, the minivan struck the two men during the chase, killing King instantly.
Garriques died of his injuries at Stony Brook University Medical Center hours later.
A straightforward case of high emotions leading citizens to take matters into their own hands – right?
Not apparently according to the community.
It’s one thing for the parents of the two thieves to want to exonerate their sons of any role in the event, but the entire neighborhood has sided with the thieves, holding them harmless and placing the full blame on the victim of the theft.
Local media has helped gin up local resentment by stressing the race of both the thieves who were struck and killed and that of the victim and his brother, Bouchard, who drove the minivan.
The local NBC affiliate reported that there was “outrage because the white driver of the minivan didn’t help the black teens after the crash, but rather recovered his bike.”
A memorial honoring the King and Garriques has been set up while Bouchard is facing charges of reckless endangerment.
Now, there is talk that the crime was a hate crime rather than just a simple, misguided attempt to retrieve a stolen dirt bike.
There’s no question but that the owner and his brother should not have taken matters into their own hands, but police say there is no evidence to suggest that the crash that took the lives was based on the race of the thieves.
“The driver of the minivan spotted his bike and he attempted to obtain the dirt bike,” Timothy Sini, the Suffolk Police Commissioner, said.
Left completely out of the comments is the simple fact that whatever the race of the thieves, they would not have found themselves in that situation had they not taken that which did not belong to them.
Sometimes, it really is that simple.
Please comment below if you feel that the label of hate crime is being applied too frequently to situations that have nothing to do with the race of the people involved. Not every interaction between people of different races is not based on racial hatred.