Arkansas police investigating possible hate crime - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas police investigating possible hate crime

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

HARDY, AR (KAIT) – Hardy Police Chief Ernest Rose confirmed Tuesday morning an investigation into a possible hate crime against black man and his wife. According to Rose, police were dispatched through 911 to a residence in the northern part of town near the Fulton County line. Rose said the victim, 48, claimed a man threw some type of object through his window, catching a curtain and exterior wall on fire. The incident happened January 14th.

"It was approximately 11:30 when the officer responded to it, he contacted me and he said the fire was out when they got there," said Rose. "The victim asked that an officer come by because it looked suspicious and the damage was minimal considering what it could have been."

The damage was estimated to be somewhere around $1,000. The only visual cue Tuesday morning something went wrong was a boarded window with black marks where the home was torched. No one was injured in the incident.

Rose said he's contacted the FBI and Arkansas State Police. Officials with the FBI were in Hardy Monday and Tuesday, Rose said.

Region 8 News contacted the victim Tuesday afternoon. He said he did not want to comment on the case.

"He [the victim] was awakened by some noise, and as he woke up, he heard a crackling sound, then he looked down toward the other end of his home and he saw a glow, so he got up and went down the hallway and seen that his curtain was on fire on the window," said Rose. "He said he heard a car so he went out on the porch, seen someone out there and they were yelling obscenities at him."

Rose said he's investigating the possibility of a hate crime on top of an arson investigation. The obscenities were believed to have been racial related.

"After I reviewed the whole situation and talked to everyone that was there on the scene and the officers involved and so forth, I felt like it would just be a better thorough investigation in this particular crime if it is what I thought it might be if we did contact the FBI," said Rose.

Agents with the FBI Tuesday were not available for comment, but Rose said the agencies help has been needed.

"We don't stop all of our duties because of one case. We just can't do it. There's not enough manpower to do that so it's nice to have them tools available," said Rose.

The victim has lived in Hardy for nearly four years. Rose said he's become a model citizen.

"Some people just don't want to be in the limelight and he's become a citizen of this community for approximately four years now, and he has a business and he just really doesn't think it would be good for him or his business or his family for a lot of people to come around, and really there's not a lot to see on the scene," said Rose.

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