Black Teen Squirted with Gasoline, Set Ablaze

A fifteen-year-old black teen from Poplar Bluff, Missouri was allegedly squirted with gasoline by another teen, a white boy, with whom he had clashed several times, and was set ablaze. The black boy suffered burns on his neck, chest, stomach and arms. From the Southeast Missourian:

Walter L. Currie, 15, is listed in good condition at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, according to a hospital spokesman.

Currie was injured about 9 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Main and Davis streets, said Poplar Bluff Police Capt. Mike Elliott. Currie was with about eight friends, and “they had been in an ongoing dispute with two other juvenile boys,” Elliott said. During a confrontation with the other two juveniles, “one of the boys had a squeeze bottle of gasoline and sprayed it on him.”

The boy then used a lighter to ignite the gasoline.

The sixteen-year-old perpetrator is being charged as a juvenile with first-degree assault. He is being held at the county juvenile detention center.

Walter Currie, like his attacker, was a freshman at Poplar Bluff High School, where the feuding between the boys originated. Poplar Bluff, Missouri lies about 125 miles from St. Louis, in Butler County, and is close to the border with Arkansas. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured another aspect to the story:

Walter Currie Sr., 56, the victim’s father, says he believes that the attack on his son was racially motivated and that he is worried the attacker will never be brought to justice. His son is black; the attacker is white.

[Poplar Bluff Deputy Police Chief Jeff] Rolland doesn’t believe the incident involved race.

“At this time, we don’t have anything that indicates that it was racially motivated,” he said. ‘It just appears that these two young men did not like one another. Now, what that reason is is a good question, and we would like to get the answer to that.”

Rolland said police are investigating why the suspect, who was arrested at the scene, had the bottle of gasoline. Rolland said the attack is the first of its kind.

“It’s makes you want to scratch your head,” he said.

With that kind of attitude from Deputy Chief Rolland, no wonder Currie’s father doesn’t believe his son will have justice. Using gasoline or kerosene was just another weapon white supremacists and the KKK used against “uppity” blacks who appeared unbending to their will during their heyday. First, it was burning or bombing the homes and crops and other property of blacks; then it was used on human flesh during lynching. And Missouri, one of the border states, was once notorious for this kind of race terrorist behavior.

These two white boys must have really had it in for Walter Currie, so much so that they would want to see him charred and forever mute. Their families may not like blacks and may even hold supremacist views, or the kids may have already developed a predilection against blacks, were profoundly irked about Currie, and wanted to victimize him.

This was a hate crime.

Currie said he did not know the teen who attacked his son, but he believed that one of his two sons had attended school with him. The father said his family is upset over the attack.

“We don’t get no justice down here in this town,” he said.

That last statement by Currie Sr. makes me think that there is more to this episode than meets the eye.

~ by blksista on June 19, 2009.

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