Seattle police concede they gambled when they released to the media a video clip of a vicious beating in which two of the victims turned out to be soldiers who had served in Iraq, reports the Seattle Times. They weighed the risk that TV could sensationalize the clip against the possibility that airing it could restart an investigation that had hit an impasse. While there have been no arrestst, police say they are comfortable with their decision and say the release generated useful leads.
Police have been taken aback by some of the reaction the video has generated, much of it the result of a faulty assumption that the victims were white. Their race was not clear in the video. That assumption prompted a flood of calls to police from citizens, radio and television talk shows and others across the country, with some wondering why the incident wasn’t being treated as a hate crime. The video showed two African-American men being punched and kicked by three other African-American men in the early-morning hours of July 31. Police have received inquiries from CNN, MSNBC, FOX, “The Maury Povich Show,” “Inside Edition” and “Oprah.” A police spokesman was surprised by an inquiry from television’s “America’s Most Wanted,” because the crime was felony assault and not a murder or rape.