Six men arrested in Texas for attacking, beating blacks Assailants cheered white supremacy

August 20, 1993|By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Six men yelling white supremacist slogans went on a rampage downtown yesterday morning, beat a 26-year-old salesman unconscious, harassed several other African-Americans and then tried to pick a fight with an elderly street person, police said.

Six men were in jail last night on charges of assault with bodily injury in the attack on Gary Dan Ali, police said.

As police transported the men to jail they referred to a black officer by a common racially contemptuous term, police reports said.

Five of the suspects had been released from prison this year after serving time for convictions ranging from attempted murder to burglary. Police said the six were residents of a halfway house.

Police said they were classifying the assault on Mr. Ali as a racial hate crime.

"From all appearances it was a racially motivated assault," said a police spokesman, Lt. Cliff Cook. "There were racial epithets spoken, directed at these two men."

However, police said, the crime could not be prosecuted under a new state hate crimes act, passed after white supremacists killed Donald Thomas of Arlington, Texas. The new law does not take effect until Sept. 1.

"I wish it had been in effect already because if any offense I've seen meets the criteria, this one does," Lieutenant Cook said.

Police said the incident began at a bus stop when a group of white men began walking up to black people, knocking off their hats or purposely bumping into them.

Mr. Ali said he had just deposited a $17 check at a bank and was waiting for the bus at the busy downtown corner to head for work when he noticed the men harassing two young black men at the other end of the bus stop.

"I looked up to see what was going on and I made eye contact with the big white guy and he said, 'I'm talking to you, too . . . ,' " Mr. Ali said as he nursed a possible broken nose at a Fort Worth hospital last night. "I walked away and the dude grabs me

and throws me to the ground. I remember two or three guys jumping in. Next thing I know, I'm sitting on a concrete block and waiting for the ambulance."

Witnesses said the white men cornered two black men at the stop but said one escaped by hopping onto a bus, according to a police report. Then the assailants turned their attention to Mr. Ali.

"The way they were saying it, it was like, 'I can't stand none of y'all. . . . Y'all don't need to be here,' " Mr. Ali said.

A bus employee who asked not to be identified said he realized that the attack was racist as the group fled the scene.

"They were yelling white this and white that," he said. "It was pathetic. It was terrible to see humanity in such disarray."

After leaving, the group began walking toward a popular downtown area. Bill Gray, a clerk at a liquor store, said one man entered his store but left quickly.

"I heard a commotion outside my store," Mr. Gray said. "They were fighting and arguing among themselves. One man wandered in and then wandered right back out."

An officer on the way to the downtown area was told that the

men were trying to start a fight with an elderly black man who was using a phone, police said.

Officers used their batons to subdue two men, according to a report. The pair became belligerent when officers told them to get face down on the ground. Officers struck both in the knees and then handcuffed them.

Four others were arrested in the downtown area without incident, police said.

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