POSTED: Monday, May 13, 2013 - 5:59pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 1:40pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Earlier today NBC33 was first to tell you about a battery against a family of three that occurred on Mother’s Day. Since releasing that report, many have asked questions on the NBC33 Facebook page regarding the charges filed. We brought those questions to the Baton Rouge Police Department.
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The majority wanted to know why the suspect, Donald Ray Dickerson, was not charged with a hate crime given that the victims were white and he stated “you’re in the wrong neighborhood and you’re not going to make it out.”
“Nothing racial was said between the victim and the suspect,” Cpt. Tommy Stubbs, Baton Rouge Police Department, explained. “We have not gotten any information that any racial statements were made and the legal statue is clear; you have to target someone based on race or sex.”
Cpl. Stubbs also provided a new piece of information that was not readily available in the original arrest report.
“The argument began between the victim and the suspect over a pink shirt,” he said. “The victim was wearing a pink shirt and the suspect didn’t like it.”
He noted that it was after that initial confrontation that Dickerson made the statement about being in the wrong neighborhood.
Setting aside the issue of whether or not there should be a charge for a hate crime, many were also concerned regarding the two individuals who were released after being issued a misdemeanor summons. The reason for concern is due to past statements that the agency would process all offenders, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.
“That directive came out under Chief Dewayne White,” Cpl. Stubbs said. “Our new police chief has given us discretion on whether or not we book individuals for a misdemeanor offense.
“What that means it that the officer assesses the totality of the issue,” he continued. “For example, if there is a shortage of manpower, the officer may not feel it’s reasonable to book someone for a misdemeanor charge.”
However, some brought up the recent booking of LSU football player Jeremy Hill for the exact same misdemeanor charge.
“I can’t explain why one was booked and the other wasn’t,” Cpl. Stubbs said. “I do not know the thought process investigators used, but the decision they made they are capable of making.”
Finally, some have noted that at least two individuals called for police assistance when the attack occurred. They reported that there were upwards of 20 people involved.
“There were multiple witnesses at the scene,” Cpl. Stubbs said. “But only three of those individuals were suspects and involved in the altercation. If you are someone passing by, it could look like a lot of people were involved.”
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