Last Updated on August 10, 2020
A black man who deliberately swerved his vehicle into three white schoolboys on the sidewalk was not charged with a hate crime. The incident, which occurred last year, was only picked up by local media, prompting some to believe that the demographic nature of the crime did not match prevailing mainstream media narratives.
On April 5, 2019, 21-year-old Oghaleoghene Atunu saw three schoolboys, aged 11 and 12, stroll down a suburban sidewalk before surveilling the area, creeping behind the boys, then stepping on the accelerator before intentionally mowing the trio down.
Surveillance footage indicated that Atunu circled the cul-de-sac several times, ostensibly to look for a way to inflict the most damage, before carrying out his wanton attack and fleeing the scene, according to TapHaps.
One victim suffered minor injuries; while Josh Piazza was severely injured, suffering a skull fracture.
The Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office found evidence that suggests the crash was intentional, according to the Colorado State Patrol, reported KDVR. But Atunu still maintains his innocence, claiming he lost control of his vehicle and panicking when he crashed into the boys, causing him to speed off.
Atunu was identified through a tip when the 2004 Buick Rendezvous SUV was recognized. An affidavit for his arrest determined the vehicle belonged to the suspect’s mother.
Following the crash, which was deemed to be intentional, Atunu faced 15 charges, including:
…3 counts of attempted first-degree murder; 2 counts of attempted first-degree assault; 2 counts of child abuse; 1 count of first-degree assault; 1 count of failing to remain at the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injuries; 1 count of vehicular assault; 1 count of failure to notify police of an accident; 1 count of hit-and-run; 1 count of reckless driving; 1 count of driving a vehicle with an expired driver’s license; and 1 count of failure to observe/disregard a traffic control device.
After Atunu’s arrest, where no motive for the heinous incident was established, he was held at Arapahoe County jail on $250,000 bond.
Despite facing over a dozen charges and lengthy prison time, a lack of any hate crime charges reopened a discussion on what would have happened if the role had been reversed.
“There is a nice description for this crime it is called RACISM!!!” tweeted one account replying to a post on the crime.
There is a nice description for this crime it is called RACISM!!!
— Jostof (@Kaplyn12) April 17, 2019
“Just think if a white dude did that to black children,” commented another person.
A third wrote: “Shouldn’t that also go federal as a civil rights crime, as it would if the races were reversed?”
Shouldn't that also go federal as a civil rights crime, as it would if the races were reversed?
— 2A4life (@thisbenotreal) June 5, 2019
This is an ongoing story.