Uploaded on Jan 14, 2012
The hate crime discussion starts at 2:12.
PORTLAND, Ore. - Two of the four suspects involved in the beating of a teenage girl on a MAX train last month appeared in court Friday.
Rakeshia Shamone Burns, 18, along with a 16-year-old and 13-year-old girl face several charges for the attack on 14-year-old Karley Buckland the day after Christmas.
The mother of the suspects, 38-year-old Selena Estell Harris, was charged with hindering prosecution. Police say she lied to them about where her daughters were and hid them from investigators.
The attack on Buckland was captured on a cell phone camera and the video went viral on YouTube.
Court documents say that Buckland told police that after she got on the MAX at the Clackamas Transit Center, a group of 20 to 30 teenagers who appeared to be together also got on the train. Then three girls told her she had an "attitude" and then began to punch and slap her.
Buckland told police she thought she was hit 10 to 20 times and suffered a bad headache the next day.
Burns is charged with riot, assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, and interfering with public transportation. Her two half sisters, who are both minors, are charged in juvenile court.
Harris faces a less serious charge but prosecutors say she has a lengthy criminal record, which includes eight felonies, one of which was an assault.
According to court documents, Harris lied about where one of her minor daughters was, saying she wasn't at home. But officers said that "was not true." Prosecutors say the teenager was at home with Harris and "undercover officers watched her exit the residence."
Another daughter and a family friend would not comment on the charges outside court beyond saying Harris is a good mother.
Both Harris and Burns remain in jail and the two minor daughters are being held at Donald E. Long Juvenile Center.
Why it wasn't a hate crime
According to Portland police and the prosecutor in this incident, the case does not fit Oregon's hate-crime law.
They said they looked at whether it should be charged that way. After listening to the video many times, the attackers can be heard saying things about the victim being white. Still, police and prosecutors didn't conclude it was criminal.
"It doesn't meet the statutory requirements," said police spokesman Lt. Robert King. "It was not the motivating factor for the attack, primarily. And secondly, it's not the perception of the victim that that is the reason for the assault. While it's true that in the video we hear reference to race, that on its own just simply doesn't meet the law's requirement."
The bottom line is it would have been a hate crime if the girl was attacked because she was white.
The detective in the case had two deputy district attorneys review the evidence independently and both reached the same conclusion.
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