Hate crime stemmed from teens’ in­ter­ra­cial re­la­tion­ship, of­fi­cials say

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY THOMASI MCDON­ALD tm­c­don­[email protected]­sob­server.com Thomasi McDon­ald: 919- 673-5036, @thom­c­don­ald

The Wayne County Sher­iff’s Of­fice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a hate crime af­ter a white fam­ily was tar­geted with racist van­dal­ism and ar­son that author­i­ties say stemmed from an in­ter­ra­cial re­la­tion­ship.

The fam­ily’s mini­van was spray-painted with a swastika and sev­eral racial ep­i­thets, ac­cord­ing to Maj. Richard Lewis, a spokesman for the Wayne County Sher­iff’s Of­fice. An­other fam­ily ve­hi­cle was set on fire.

The fam­ily’s 14-year-old daugh­ter was in a re­la­tion­ship with an AfricanAmer­i­can teenager, Lewis said.

“This case is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a hate crime,” Lewis said in a news re­lease Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. “The (State Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion) has been con­tacted and briefed on the case and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Deputies were alerted at 6:22 a.m. Dec. 27 about a ve­hi­cle fire and van­dal­ism on White Oak Drive in Goldsboro, Lewis said. In­ves­ti­ga­tors think the in­ci­dent took place overnight.

Amanda Miller, the girl’s mother, told ABC11, The News & Ob­server’s me­dia part­ner, that her daugh­ter met the boy in church..

“It just makes your heart sink,” Miller told the TV sta­tion. “I’ve al­ways tried to in­still in her be friends with who is good to you. Like who is good to you. It doesn’t (mat­ter) what color some­body is and it doesn’t (mat­ter) what race they are.”

The Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions re­leased a state­ment Wed­nes­day con­demn­ing the crime.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the group, told The News & Ob­server that he did not know if the African-Amer­i­can teen was Mus­lim.

“We don’t re­strict our­selves in these types of big­oted at­tacks to Mus­lims,” he said. “What we have seen since the era of Don­ald Trump is big­otry that tar­gets dif­fer­ent groups, and we speak out for all of them.”

Hate crimes in North Carolina in­creased 12 per­cent in 2017, fol­low­ing a na­tion­wide trend, ac­cord­ing to data from the FBI pre­vi­ously re­ported by The N&O.

Miller on Sun­day es­tab­lished a GoFundMe page to help pay for an­other car. The cam­paign had raised more than $1,200 of a $10,000 goal by Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Lewis, the sher­iff’s spokesman, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.

“We are fol­low­ing leads as they be­come avail­able,” he said.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to call De­tec­tive Scott Peele at 919-731-1484 or Wayne County CrimeStop­pers at 919-735-2255.

ABC11

The mini­van of a Goldsboro, N.C., fam­ily was spray-painted with a swastika and sev­eral racial ep­i­thets. The in­ci­dent is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a hate crime.

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