Surprise! Breitbart, Big Government and Glenn Beck don't know what a "hate crime" is

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Yep, more Kenneth Gladney fiction from a right-wing crowd that simply will not stop making stuff up about a long-forgotten St. Louis incident that for some reason has been elevated into right-wing folklore, facts be damned. (For background see here, here, here, and here.)

But here's the latest: Breitbart and his "journalism" site Big Government, along with Glenn Beck and his trusty legal analyst Judge Napolitano, all suggest that hate crime charges ought to be brought against the union "thugs" who are charged with beating up Kenneth Gladney outside a town hall health care forum in August.

They're the same SEIU reps who last week were charged by St. Louis prosecutors with "misdemeanor ordinance violations," even though Breitbart and his fervent fiction writers had been claiming for months that Gladney had been savagely beaten and kicked and dragged around by the union "thugs" who were under direct orders from the White House to beat people up. (I kid you not.)

County officials didn't see it that way and instead slapped the SEIU union reps with very light charges. So now, Breitbart and company insist Gladney was the victim of a hate crime. Of course, nobody has been charged with that offense, but Big Government and Glenn Beck don't care because they have proof a hate crime was committed!

The proof? On that August night Gladney told police that one of the union reps, just prior to hitting him, said, "What kind of nigger are you"? (Gladney is black.)

According to Beck and Breitbart and Judge Napolitano, that means Gladney was the victim of a "hate crime." (See below.) After all, here's the legal definition that's most often used to describe the crime [emphasis added]:

A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability.

In this case, the right-wing claim is that the union rep in question was prejudiced against Gladney's race.

A compelling case, right? Except here's the part the amateur Perry Mason's always leave out of their sudden (and previously well-hidden) desire to see hate crimes prosecuted: the union rep charged with hitting Gladney -- the same union rep who allegedly called Gladney a "nigger" -- is also black. His name is Elston McCowan.

Meaning, Gladney, a black man, was allegedly punched by McCowan, a black man, and now Breitbart and Beck want prosecutors to file hate-crime charges because McCowan was prejudiced against Gladney's race; because McCowan's assault was driven by his hatred of Gladney's race. That, despite the fact that Gladney and McCowan share the same race.

I'm no legal eagle, but I'm pretty sure I know why prosecutors didn't file hate crime charges in this case.

UPDATED: Breitbart sure does have a tough time trying to decipher the law.

UPDATED: Breitbart's star witness, a far-right ideologue who earlier told his Gladney tale on Breitbart's Big Government site, has now changed his story about what happened that night in St. Louis. Suddenly the witness did not see Gladney get punched in the face. Gee, think lawyers for the charged union reps will make a big deal about that when it's time to adjudicate the case?

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