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Father wants son's beating treated as a hate crime

Posted by on Sep. 7, 2009 at 10:18 PM
  • 9 Replies

Story Highlights

  • Attack last month on Brian Milligan Jr. left his jaw broken, 3-inch gash on head
  • Milligan, 18, who is white, is dating an African-American woman, Nicola Fletcher
  • Police say the attackers were 10 to 15 African-American men
  • Fletcher says she's been harassed on street, shot with paintballs, by same group

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Brian Milligan Sr. believes his son's race triggered a brutal attack on the streets of Buffalo, New York.

Brian Milligan Jr. poses with his girlfriend, Nicola Fletcher, before he was attacked last month.

Brian Milligan Jr. poses with his girlfriend, Nicola Fletcher, before he was attacked last month.

Armed with a chunk of concrete, several assailants beat Brian Milligan Jr. on the back of the head on August 18, leaving a 3-inch gash. They kicked him in the face, breaking his jaw.

Bloodied and bruised, the 18-year-old managed to walk five blocks to his grandmother's house before being rushed to the hospital.

Milligan's father believes several African-Americans beat his son, who is white, because he is dating an African-American woman. He wants police to treat the beating as a hate crime. He also has criticized what he calls a deafening silence from the community, police and the national media.

"If this was a black guy who was beaten by a group of white guys for dating a white girl, people would be up in arms," he said. "There's a double standard."

Buffalo police believe a group of about 10 to 15 African-American men attacked Milligan late at night, police spokesman Mike DeGeorge said. Police have made no arrests and are still investigating the motive, he said.

Milligan Sr. says he believes the attackers are the same "neighborhood guys" who threatened his son and his African-American girlfriend because of their interracial relationship.

The younger Milligan and his girlfriend, Nicola Fletcher, who is also 18, had recently complained of an increase in insults and threats in east Buffalo, where Fletcher lives and where Milligan was staying with his grandmother, Fletcher said.

"Every time they walk the streets, people stop him and call him 'cracker' and ask her why she's not with a black guy," Milligan Sr. said.

Two days before the attack, Fletcher said she was shot with paintball pellets by the same group of neighborhood aggressors.

"I'm afraid to walk the streets," she said. "Those guys are still out there."

Police "are making good progress in the case," said DeGeorge, the police spokesman. Investigators are still trying to determine if it should be declared a hate crime.

They have asked members of the community to call police if they have any information.

When Milligan was taken to Erie County Medical Center, he was unconscious and suffered blood on the brain and brain swelling as a result of the beating. He will see a neurosurgeon on September 10 to be evaluated, said his father.

He is now recovering at home and remembers nothing about the attack, which has made the police investigation even more difficult.

The story has touched a nerve with several members of Buffalo's African-American community, including a local pastor who leads a predominantly black church in Buffalo.

"At first, it didn't affect me the way that it would have if I heard it was a black teen attacked," said the Rev. Darius Pridgen, who spent years fighting for civil rights for African-Americans.

"But after I saw his father on TV pleading with the community to find the assailants, I decided I had to go after the people who beat this kid."

Pridgen said he felt that the community has turned a collective blind eye to the beating. So he gave a fire-and-brimstone sermon at the True Baptist Church on a Sunday after the attack, appealing to his congregation to help find the culprits.

"He didn't deserve to be beaten this way," Pridgen recalled saying at the service. "If you believe this, put your hands together."

If it was a black teen, Pridgen said, "We would have been protesting with flags and everything else."

Rod Watson also addressed the issue in his column in the Buffalo News. Watson, who is black, pointed out that interracial marriages are nearly 10 times higher than they were in 1960, according to U.S. Census data, but still those couples have a tough time being accepted by society.

"If blacks in Buffalo in 2009 are acting like whites in Selma in 1959, this society has big problems, despite electing a president who is himself the product of an interracial union," Watson said.

Judy Milligan, a community activist and Brian Milligan Jr.'s great-aunt, said she has been overwhelmed with support from her friends, both black and white.

Mary Woods, a member of Buffalo's African-American community, reached out to Milligan to offer her support.

"I don't care what color you are, when something like this happens, justice must be served," Woods said. "There had to be someone who saw something, and they should come forward."

Milligan Sr. has criticized the Buffalo Police Department for spending too much time "trying to prove this crime wasn't a hate crime instead of performing a solid investigation."

But DeGeorge said the department is pursuing the attackers with the same vigor as it would any crime.

"People tend to want crimes solved yesterday," DeGeorge said. "We are performing a thorough investigation and that takes time."

He expressed optimism that Buffalo residents would come forward to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

Your Thoughts?

 





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by on Sep. 7, 2009 at 10:18 PM
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Replies (1-9):
zweedledee
by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2009 at 11:17 PM

Hate crime


LavenderMom23
by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2009 at 11:33 PM

It was definitely a hate crime, no doubt. I find interracial couples very cute together, and their children even more beautiful.

The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! (Numbers 6:24-26)

mommajen32
by Platinum Member on Sep. 8, 2009 at 12:48 AM

That's so sad. Yes, it's a hate crime and shame on them. I'm glad to see the adults in the black community supporting that as well. I do wish youth were as aware and politically active as they were in the days of Civil Rights. The only point I don't like is that it was assumed that folks would be up in arms if the races were reversed. I hope people are intelligent enough to know that things happen to people everyday and not all become high-profile cases. There isn't a riot everytime something race-based takes place. That's a myth.

But I feel sorry for the kid and I hope the couple can continue on their journey if it's a healthy one. But I must also say from the pic I thought he was hispanic at first. The illness of hate is contageous.

la_bella_vita
by Bella on Sep. 8, 2009 at 1:03 AM


Quoting zweedledee:

Hate crime

 


Wyldbutterfly
by Bronze Member on Sep. 8, 2009 at 9:43 AM

This happened in my town of Buffalo New York. It is and was most definitely a hate crime. The beating that Brian Milligan took should never happen to anyone.

Thankfully Brian is on the mend physically. His jaw is still wired shut. However, I'm sure the emotional issues will long out last the bruises and broken jaw and bleeding on his brain.

No one has yet to come forward with any information in this HATE CRIME!

cmtinokc
by Member on Sep. 8, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Definitely a hate crime.  It's so sad that people are treated differently if they date someone of another color.  I just found out that my brother's father is disowning him because he's dating a black woman.  It's completely harsh and premature considering that my brother doesn't have a good track record with girls.  His relationships tend to blow up in his face about a month after they connect.

Rachel 

Wyldbutterfly
by Bronze Member on Sep. 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM

 

"Milligan Sr. has criticized the Buffalo Police Department for spending too much time "trying to prove this crime wasn't a hate crime instead of performing a solid investigation."

But DeGeorge said the department is pursuing the attackers with the same vigor as it would any crime.

"People tend to want crimes solved yesterday," DeGeorge said. "We are performing a thorough investigation and that takes time."

He expressed optimism that Buffalo residents would come forward to help bring the perpetrators to justice."

 

Mr. Milligan is 100% correct in his accusations! Had the rolls been reversed and a young black man was beaten as badly, we would have had  some serrious issues in this area.

As for Rev. Darius Pridgen, I'm glad he finally spoke out against the hate crime. Sad thing is and he openly admitted, had it been a young black man he would have spoken sooner, and this is sickening!

Not one race is better than the other. We are the HUMAN race and thats that!

canthaveboys1
by on Sep. 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM


Quoting zweedledee:

Hate crime

 


nysa76
by Silver Member on Sep. 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM

If the victim was black or hispanic and the attackers white, there would be no doubt on whether it was a hate crime.  Kind of makes some wonder why there is a doubt now... Racism and hate are a problem with people of all color. 

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
Mark Twain
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