(THE SMOKING GUN) — Baltimore's police chief today said that the videotaped beating of a white tourist does not appear to be a hate crime, but rather "drunken opportunistic criminality" on the part of a gang of Charm City assailants.
In a TV interview, Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III urged Baltimore residents to "distinguish between criminality and racially motivated crime." Bealefeld, who is white, warned against "race-baiting" and "fear-mongering" in light of the Trayvon Martin shooting and other recent racially charged incidents.
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"There's no doubt it's a crime," Bealefeld said of the March 17 assault. "We need to vigorously hold criminals accountable, and we have to be careful not to be pulled into this race-baiting."