The deadly assault of a Mableton man has become a national story, at least online, with several web sites and blogs claiming Joshua Chellew was killed because he was white.
Initially reported as a hit-and-run, police now say Chellew died June 30 after an attack by four black teenagers in Cobb County.
According to the arrest warrant, the 36-year-old victim was repeatedly punched and kicked by the youths outside a Chevron gas station. Chellew, badly beaten, eventually stumbled onto Mableton Parkway, where he was run over. He died at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Witnesses told police that the four suspects made no attempt to aid Chellew or stop the approaching vehicle that hit him. The driver of that car was not charged, said Cobb Police Sgt. Dana Pierce.
A brutal crime, no question, but not one fueled by racial animosity, according to investigators.
“This was not racially motivated,” Pierce told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Cobb County police are investigating this like any other crime.”
The fight between Chellew and his four assailants apparently started over gang identification.
According to the warrant, Chellew flashed blue colors and claimed allegiance to the “Crips” street gang. Three of the suspects were dressed in red, the colors affiliated with the “Crips” longtime rival, the “Bloods.” The exchange was captured on the station’s surveillance cameras.
But not everyone is convinced. A Google search on Chellew’s name produces about 31,200 results, most of which focus on race and an alleged cover-up by local media outlets.
“If the races had been reversed, this would be the biggest news story in the United States,” writes a blogger on The Daily Caller, founded by conservative pundit Tucker Carlson and a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. “It would have knocked the (George) Zimmerman trial out of the news.”
World Net Daily, meanwhile, references Chellew’s killing in a story titled, “Race Violence Alarms, Before Zimmerman Verdict.”
Blogger Urbanbaby goes one step further, asserting Chellew was killed “because he was a white man. It’s that simple.”
Even if it isn’t.
The four suspects — 19-year-old Jekari Oshay Strozier and 18-year-olds Antonio Shantwan Pass, Johnathan Donald Anthony and Kemonta Bond, all from Mableton — have been held without bond since last week at the Cobb County jail on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault and violating the Georgia Street Gang Act.
According to the arrest warrant, each are members of the “Re-Up” gang.