Column: Dirty secrets of border town attacks
"Every so often in this business of journalism, you walk into a situation that seems pretty straightforward and so you run down all the usual suspects in your reporting and ask all the logical questions and you think you've gotten the story.

Then you publish it and someone lifts up a corner of the rug you didn't look under and you find all sorts of dirt that was swept under.

Let's go back to Grants today and take another look at the series of beatings there of homeless Native American men that I wrote about late last month.

There was a lot of dirt in that story: Four attacks that resulted in five men being beaten with fists and rocks and a bat, their injuries so severe as to require hospitalization. A racial slur was uttered during one of the attacks.

The Grants Police called the beatings hate crimes and arrested a 22-year-old Hispanic man from Milan, who confessed to being present during one of the attacks.

The mail started to come the day the column ran.

This letter in particular revealed a little insight into how some people in Grants feel about the beating victims: "THEY are always drunk roaming around town... PUBLIC INTOXICATION, PAN HANDLING, and being HOMELESS and a NUISANCE TO OUR COMMUNITY. They have been a problem since I was a little girl and making scenes."

Another letter, also anonymous, shed some light on racial attitudes, at least of one person who lives in Grants: "Nobody likes drunks. No One ... Grants Police could care less about them like the rest of the people in Grants until it's (too) late and something happens to Native Americans and they cry race! If it would've been Hispanics or whites they would not call it a hate crime." "

Get the Story:
Leslie Linthicum: Dirty Secrets Emerge After 'Indian Rolling' (The Albuquerque Journal 7/19)

Earlier Column:
Leslie Linthicum: Hate-Crime Spree (The Albuquerque Journal 6/28)

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