Was this the Holy Grail of racial mob violence? The story that deniers of black mob violence have talked about many times, but never produced?
Could we finally have a recent case of racial mob violence that involved Asians? Are Asians running amok in Des Moines, Iowa, of all places?
Fighting and firing guns and causing mayhem on the grounds of the state Capitol? That is what a reasonable person might assume from the local stories over the weekend.
The headlines from a local TV station tantalized: “Teens fight at CelebrAsian” The story revealed how people were fighting in and around this annual festival of Asian culture. When they left they found a nearby place to fight some more. Someone fired a gun.
Laurie Lavorato, the police spokeswoman during the last known incident of widespread racial violence in Des Moines, no longer was available for confirmation.
Lavorato got demoted and sent to down to traffic division following that episode.
A recap: In 2010 at the Iowa State Fair, large groups of black people were assaulting patrons to the Iowa State Fair. It happened three nights in a row.
“We had a lot of assaults on people randomly walking out of the Iowa State Fair. Most of our victims happen to be white. Is that a racial thing? I don’t know. It’s all under investigation,” Lavorato told the local ABC affiliate.
During one of the “string of attacks” a black mob beat a white man until his skull fractured. The next day, another mob was fighting and destroying property and police were attacked when they tried to break it up. While trying to subdue a suspect, several members of the mob attacked the officers on the ground, kicking and punching them.
Three police went to the hospital. Tasers and pepper spray were deployed.
“They were running around like a swarm of bees,” Lavorato said. One police officer said in a report that some were shouting it was “Beat Whitey Night.” A police report has been posted online.
In another attack near the fairgrounds, a mob of black people was led by a local high school basketball star Reginald Rashawn White allegedly was randomly attacking and stabbing white people.
“One of the attacks occurred on August 14 in the parking lot of Gerry’s Bar. Witness Brian Ray Fees, a bartender at Gerry’s Bar, said the attackers were beating the victim while shouting racial slurs. “Just kill the white dude. Kick his butt. That kind of thing. A lot of expletives too,” Fees told local Channel 13 news.
A local politician said something that the Register deemed important enough to print, but not important enough to help us understand what he meant:
“State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, who has worked to fight gang-related violence, said he doesn’t have enough information to decide if the fights were racially motivated. He said police comments that race was involved could miss other factors, such as nonracial taunting.
“Unfortunately, like any other city, you have certain parts of town that individuals congregate in,” Abdul-Samad said. “You have those that go into that area with no problem, and those who cannot.”
He added, “We of course need to work on race relations. If anyone says we don’t, they are playing games with themselves.”
Abdul-Samad was echoing comments from State Rep. Wayne Ford, who had said that the entertainment and the exhibits at the State Fair were “too white” and the fair needed to book more black entertainers.
News of Beat Whitey night spread around the country. Racial violence in Iowa? If that was so, that pretty much meant that black mob violence could erupt anywhere.
Which is exactly what was documented in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”
Soon the push back began: Gabriel Stoffa, a reporter for the Iowa State Daily, said the people of Iowa were responsible for this racially ambiguous violence. The kids just did not get enough positive role models.
Apparently the police spokeswoman was also to blame. She got demoted: According to the chief of police, “People are very sensitive to remarks like that, so I had some real grave concerns about us stepping out and I wanted to make certain that we were right to message the State Fair events that way.”
Back to CelebrAsian. Most of the news accounts were no help. According to the Des Moines Register, a large group of young people was standing around near the festival. These people, “when asked, declined to come participate in the event.”
KCCI News 8 was a bit more explicit: “Authorities said a group of teenagers was asked to leave the festival.”
WHO news added more: “Police say a large group of juveniles got into a fight at the festival. The dispute then continued a few blocks away. That’s when someone fired one shot.”
An online request for information generated a response, too, from Matt Thao:
The mob involved 80-100 people. At the sound of the gunfire, cops drew their guns and took cover behind the trees.
But Asian people firing guns, getting into fights and causing mayhem at the Asian festival?
WHO TV provided a video clue: The news showed several people in custody for questioning. All black.
Finally, a police officer provided confirmation. “The crowd was made up of African Americans,” he said.
The search for the Holy Grail continues.
Meanwhile, Monday morning, two days after the black mob violence in Des Moines, the Register ran an editorial bemoaning the fact that black people were over represented in the state’s prison system:
“Indeed, it cannot be disputed that the presence of so many African-Americans – men and women, juveniles and mothers – in Iowa’s prisons is aggravating those societal problems.”
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