Monday, February 16, 1998
Racist crime inspires hate, concern

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Be careful when you open your voice mail. Angry readers may be ready to rumble.

A column last Monday on Christopher Jason Kindinger set off a flurry of calls, faxes and belated publicity for a hate crime committed on Martin Luther King Day.

Suspect sketch
Jason was the 19-year-old Miami University student beaten to a pulp by two attackers wielding a baseball bat. Jason, who is black, and a white friend were jumped from behind on a quiet Oxford street. The friend managed to escape and run for help. Jason had to have reconstructive surgery to rebuild the left side of his face. Both Jason and his friend have dropped out of school.

Some readers left voice mail filled with the same racial epithets used by Jason's attackers. Others put their views into more printable form.

''You should have ignored this story. White liberal columnists like you are always stirring up black hatred of whites.'' - Jason Edward, White Oak.

''Hey, meathead, go to Clifton and Corryville. You will find black criminals beating up whites. They do it just for the color of their skin. Nobody calls that a hate crime.'' - Ike Mansfield, University Heights.

Most people were appalled at the two men who jumped the college students from behind.

''Scum like this should be locked up forever.'' - Jay Williams, Glendale.

''There is no excuse for such hatred.'' - Walter Davenport, Westwood.

''I pray for the people of Oxford, the students of Miami University and the young man who was beaten.'' - Joy Florence, Independence.

The column sent four different TV news crews racing up to Oxford to videotape stretches of empty sidewalk and interview Steven DeLue, an associate dean of Miami's College of Arts and Sciences. Angry about the attack, he raised $3,000 in reward money and created a Justice Fund. The FBI added $2,000 more. Since the publicity last week, another $1,000 has come into the Justice Fund.

That's $6,000 cash for anyone who knows the attackers and has enough decency and guts to call the cops.

Here are the numbers again. FBI: (513) 421-4310 or (513) 423-8030. Oxford police: (513) 524-5258. Anonymous tip line: (513) 524-5249.

The hoopla last week shook loose ''some interesting input from the community,'' said FBI spokesman Edwin H. Boldt. ''We still encourage people to call with information, no matter how meaningless they think it may be.''

Do the right thing. Call.

Conway's courage

Readers also took time to call about the column on Cincinnati police Officer Kathleen Conway and her courageous will to live after taking four slugs from a .357 Magnum.

''When I hear the word hero, I see the face of Katy Conway.'' - Betty Franklin, Hyde Park.

''Every time I think of the terror she must have experienced in her car, my heart goes out to her.'' - Esther Flanagan, Price Hill.

''I used to think female cops were just good for directing traffic. Officer Conway's bravery has changed my mind forever.'' - Dalton Butler, Bevis.

''No one better ever say that women cops aren't brave.'' - Rachael Davis, Blue Ash.

Into the pool

Three weeks on Hamilton County jury duty led to a column about how people in the jury pool take their duty seriously, but love to lighten up at lunch with The Andy Griffith Show.

Jury duty drew several verdicts.

''A patriotic duty.'' - Will Robertson, Kenwood.

''A big, fat waste of time.'' - Harry Weathers, Covington.

''I've been on four different juries four different times. I'm tired of serving,'' fussed John Braun of Amelia. ''I was drafted in World War II, and it looks like they're going to keep drafting me forever.''

Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.