In spite of the demonstration, in spite of Hal Turner, in spite of all of the dollars that the racists cost the city of Kingston, New York...there are no hate crime charges. We can only speculate as to what comes next - let's hope we are wrong.
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KHS teen indicted for assault, not hate crime
By Mary Fairchild , Freeman staff
KINGSTON - The suspect in the Kingston High School assault that led to a white supremacy rally on the streets of Midtown has been indicted, but not for a hate crime.
An Ulster County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Joseph L. Williams Jr., 16, on felony counts of assault and attempted assault in connection with an Oct. 7 attack on 14-year-old Robert Hedrick.
The fact that Williams is black and Hedrick is white prompted calls, most notably by rally organizer Hal Turner, for Williams to be charged with a hate crime. But police have said all along that the assault was not racially motivated, and the grand jury apparently agreed.
"The grand jury fully explored the case and unanimously determined that the incident was not motivated by race or any other identifiable category of individual," Ulster County District Attorney Donald A. Williams said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
"Acts of violence in and around our schools are a serious concern for my office and every parent who has a child in school," the prosecutor said in a prepared statement earlier in the day. "What transpired on Oct. 7 entered the zone of criminal conduct that must be dealt with consistent with the laws of this state. Joseph Williams is charged by the grand jury with offenses that bear serious consequences. We hope that this indictment and prosecution will serve as a strong deterrent for other similar conduct."
The Oct. 7 assault prompted Turner, a New Jersey-based white supremacist and Internet radio host, to hold a rally Nov. 19 on Broadway in front of the high school. Turner and 40 supporters, some wearing Nazi uniforms, were greeted by about 200 counterdemonstrators and an equal number of police. The result was an event that was loud and confrontational but not violent.
Turner vowed at the time to hold more rallies in Kingston if the assault suspect was not charged with a hate crime.
The Rev. James Childs, a leader in Kingston's black community and pastor of the Pointe of Praise Family Center on Hurley Avenue in the city, said he was glad the grand jury did not charge Joseph Williams with a hate crime.
"It was not a racial matter," Childs said. "This shows the system works, and I think this means the young man will get a fair trial. The facts of the situation will come out, and the whole thing will be done properly and in order."
Rebekah Hedrick, the assault victim's mother, said the two-count felony indictment was more than she expected and that she would have been surprised if the suspect been charged with a hate crime.
"I believe the hate crime laws are not applied equally," the Tillson resident said. "If the roles had been reversed, I think we would have seen a hate-crime indictment."
Hedrick said her son suffered multiple fractures of facial bones in the incident, has had two surgeries and continues to have impaired vision.
Kingston Police Chief Gerald Keller said the legal system worked in this case.
"The grand jury had the opportunity to hear the facts and came back with the indictments so that justice can be done," he said. "That's the way our criminal justice system works."
Kingston Mayor James Sottile did not respond to a reporter's phone message.