In the last few weeks several Bosnian immigrants living in a St. Louis neighborhood have been attacked and one was even killed in what some residents have called race-based attacks. Now, local police are calling the attacks a hate crime.
During the last week of November, a Bosnian immigrant named Zemir Begic, 32, was killed by black suspects wielding hammers. Race was suspected as a motive as by some reports groups of blacks were roaming the streets of the Bevo Mill neighborhood yelling racial epithets in the hours before the murder.
But the final straw occurred on December 6 when a 26-year-old Bosnian-American woman was pulled from her car and beaten unconscious by a mob of black teenagers who hurled racial epithets as they attacked her.
Witnesses said that during the attack on the woman, at least one of the attackers yelled, “You’re Bosnian. I should just kill you now.”
Now, a spokesman for the St. Louis police department is saying they are investigating the crime as a possible hate crime.
“As of now, officers are investigating this incident as a bias crime based on the victim’s account of the incident,” the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department told Fox News via email. “The investigation is ongoing.”
St. Louis police pointed out that they don’t have any proof that the attacks were necessarily committed by the same suspects but the rise in attacks on citizens of Bosnian descent is a disturbing trend.
A local resident said that groups of blacks routinely block traffic and damage cars of white, Bosnian-American residents.
“It is common for African-American teens to walk in the middle of the street and block in cars at intersections,” the Bevo Mill resident said. “We have been stopped at intersections in Bevo and our car attacked by teens who pound on the car — laughing at us.”
Crime against neighborhood residents has gone up, especially since the unrest in nearby Ferguson began.
“Aggravated assault, for example, was up 19.6 percent in the Bevo Mill neighborhood in September when compared to September 2013, according to crime statistics posted on the St. Louis Police Department website,” Fox reported. “In October 2014, aggravated assault was up by 24.1 percent and by 29 percent in November when compared to the same month in 2013.”
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