The brutal beating on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois that was caught on a surveillance camera and that elevated the national discussion on race relations in America has caught the attention of white supremacist groups as a cause for them to rally behind.
While Belleville's school district moved to expell
two of the students involved in the attack, it was not enough to stop white supremacist groups from seeking a broader definition
of what constitutes a hate crime.
“People in this town are rightfully angry at the double standard that we know how this would be working if the races were reversed,” the National Socialist Movement
, a white supremacist group, said in a statement on its web site. “We want to not only condemn these acts of violence, but also to try and persuade the state's attorney to file hate crime charges in this case.”
The groups plan to gather at the Belleville courthouse on Saturday and protest. However, while the white supremacist organizations are crying foul, the prosecutors in this bus beating case have said that the incident does not constitute a hate crime.
Hate crimes carry heavier legal weight than other violent incidents - and would likely result in stiffer sentencing.