The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Suspect in Mobile, Ala., Beating Had Ongoing Feud with Victim

By Hatewatch Staff on April 25, 2012 - 2:47 pm, Posted in Anti-White, Extremist Crime

Police arrested a suspect today in the racially charged beating of a white man who was left in critical condition after being attacked on his porch by what witnesses said was a group of about 20 African Americans, one of whom reportedly said, “Now that’s justice for Trayvon.”

The suspect, Terry Rawls, 44, has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for assault, burglary, theft and firing a weapon into a building or vehicle, according to the Mobile Press-Register. Police said more arrests are possible.

Local officials appear to be attempting to tamp down speculation that the attack on Matthew Owens was some form of retaliation for the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed African-American teen who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., in February.

Chad Tucker, a spokesman for the Mobile district attorney, said that Owens and Rawls have a history of conflict dating to the summer of 2009. “That’s an important fact that needs to get out to the public,” Tucker said. “This was not some random event that came out of nowhere.”

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones  said Tuesday that the assault was not a hate crime and that the alleged statement about the Trayvon Martin case by one of the attackers has been “blown out of proportion.” He cautioned people about jumping to conclusions in the case, in which new details are emerging.

Owens’ condition, meanwhile, has been upgraded from critical to serious.

Witnesses say about 20 people attacked Owens last Saturday night after an argument between Owens and some kids who were playing basketball nearby.

According to WPMI, neighbors said Owens confronted the kids as they chased a loose basketball onto his lawn. One of the kids said Owens started spewing racial slurs and pulled out two knives. The kids ran away, but angry adults returned.

Neighbors of Owens say it’s not the first time they’ve heard him make racist statements. Lemicka Whisenhunt told WPMI that Owens has said he was going “to lynch all the black kids,” that he “hates black n—ers,” and that he hates that black people moved onto his street. Whisenhunt says that police are often called to the house where Owens stays.

  • H41N

    There’s no such thing as perpetrating a hate crime when it comes to violence against whites. And to A D M who asked what excuses were made, it’s you who’s the “dummy” (scathing comeback btw) if you are unable (or choose not to) see evidence of the justification. Read the item:

    “Local officials appear to be attempting to tamp down speculation that the attack was retaliation…” One of the attackers SAID “now that’s justice for” whatever-his-name-was! Authorities won’t acknowledge that the attack was retaliatory even when it’s declared by one of those involved? Media & authorities trip over themselves to label crimes as hate crimes when they’re white-initiated. That doesn’t ring just a bit discriminatory to you?

    And the crowning touch: 20 assailants, 1 arrest. Classic.

  • Scott

    Just so everyone knows, I am NOT the scott from above! Methinks I may have to change my name here.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Uh Rick, sources or it didn’t happen.

  • GWilliams

    To Jeff, no. A DA, unless looking for a plea bargain (which is another controversial area of law where justice takes a back seat to expediency), will never (voluntarily) charge someone with a hate crime if the evidence for it is sketchy or thin. The reason is that it adds an additional element that needs to be proven if he/she wants to succeed. And proving what was in the mind of anyone at a specific time is never an easy thing do. Far easier to just charge what is plainly in evidence, the assault itself.

    And Rick. The incident you cite is almost surely that of a woman/mother who told police that her son was attacked… much as you say, but then failed to produce any evidence to support her claims. The boy himself had nothing wrong with him other than a restricted area of 1st degree burning…..what the rest of us know as a “sunburn. (the seriousness of 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree burns are the reverse of murder degrees where 1st is the MOST serious, not least). As well, the language this woman has used in the past strongly suggests she herself is racist. She is a recent arrival in the area, her white son now being in the minority where before that was not the case.

  • A.D.M.

    What excuses were made, Scott? Point them out, dummy.

  • Rick

    This is racism at its ugliest on both sides.there is another story of a 13 year old white boy that was chased down by two black boys pulled off his door step beaten doused with GAS and set on fire with them saying justice fr Trayvon. This shit is out of control.

  • jeff

    That’s the problem with hate laws in general. An assault, which is already chargeable, is made a hate crime even when race may not be the primary motivating factor.

  • ModerateMike

    I don’t speak for SPLC, Jason, but I think you missed the point of why they covered this story. The murder of Trayvon Martin is fresh in the mind of the public, and it has the potential to incite more widespread racial conflict. I think that their selection of what stories to report is, and should be, less about “keeping things even”, and more about informing us of those events that could have a significant impact on how people perceive each other, and ultimately how we treat one another.

  • I Believe

    Why is it that we often see publishing’s where the African-American is always the assailant? We very rarely read stories where Caucasians are the aggressors. I know, in fact, that there are many cases where the table is turned; has turned. I don’t condone any type of behavior such as this, so let’s get this out there now-on this table. I believe that we are all equal and should have the right to live, to go and come any place in this “free” country as we (meaning all of us) wish. However, it doesn’t look good for African-Americans to act out ignorantly against someone when the same attitude has been done to them. If we want to stand-up for change and voice equality and rights for all man kind then we can’t go about showing ourselves unworthy. What’s 20 African-American men beating 1 Caucasian man really saying? Now we know he is defenseless to such attack. Let’s think before we act. The best way to fight back is with our minds and not our fist’s (unless it’s called for). Amen? Amen!

  • Reynardine

    In small case, every true Murder 1 is a hate crime (premeditation and malice aforethought). In this instance, it’s not clear whether racial hatred was the type of hatred that motivated the crime, or whether these men hated each other enough to motivate the homicide without that factor.

    My neighbor who croaked did so from natural causes, though “croak” can apply to any permanent cessation of respiration. He had at various times, either directly or by instigation of his more able-bodied family members, poisoned my vegetable plants, killed my cats, tried to fire my house, and did fire my shed (I put it out on time). Nonetheless, I did nothing to bring about his cessation of respiration, even though, if I had been armed when I interrupted the arson attempt on my house, I would have been justified in doing so (provided all his wounds were before). This neighbor and my family are the same race I am, and at least publicly, there is no religious issue, but “hate”, in the sence of malice, was surely present.

    Shadow Wolf, I don’t know what you tried to say, but I have said before, the moderators are prudes. Try again.

  • Ian

    Thank you for clearing that up, Reynardine

    “this was a hate crime.”

    [Citation needed.]

  • A.D.M.

    Jason, the truth has been out especially about people like you. Idiot.

  • scott

    what a load of shit! again we have the racist splc making excuses for black racism. this was a hate crime.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Rey,
    Why on Earth would you have anything to do with someone who “croaks”? When someone croaks, it’s due to natural causes.

    And by the way, I tried to addressed you in the previous thread, but for some reason, my comment never made it through.

  • DrMJG

    As in the Zimmerman case, cool heads must prevail and allow the justice system to do its job. But, SPLC is doing a solid job here in getting information out. Thank you

  • Jason Smith

    Good! Now let’s have the SPLC write more stories about Whites being attacked by Blacks. Let’s get the truth out there for a change.

  • Reynardine

    “Critical” means that, even in the best case scenario, the victim is on the brink of croaking. “Serious” means that with reasonable luck and care, he won’t, but he’s certainly not as good as new, and may never be.

    That sounds like a nasty neighborhood, and he and his assailant both sound like nasty neighbors. I had a neighbor as nasty, but when he croaked, I didn’t have anything to do with it.

  • Ian

    Thank you for the follow up. It’s something that’s rare in the media and even more rare on blogs.

    Does the phrase “upgraded from critical to serious” mean Owens’ condition has improved or deteriorated?