While a couple of boys were dancing on a street corner, a man randomly walked up and delivered a powerful punch to a child’s head. However, the mainstream media widely ignored the story, and it was likely because of the races involved.
Ethan Hagler, 12, was participating in a community-led street performance along with his dance teacher and classmate. What started as a show of the studio’s hard work suddenly turned into what may very well be a violent hate crime in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
In the middle of his dance, Ethan was randomly attacked in an unprovoked assault. In the video, the boy is showing off his moves when a black SUV, possibly a Honda CRV, circles the block and pulls up beside the trio, according to TMZ. A black male then exits the passenger side door, creeps up behind the child, and slams his fist into boy’s head with extreme force.
Ethan collapses to the ground as blood gushes from his nose. His dance teacher, Michael “Crank” Curry, screams and jumps up in a failed pursuit of the assailant, who hops back into the getaway car before it speeds off. He then rushes back to Ethan, who struggles to his feet.
Ethan was treated at a local hospital for a concussion and a severe nose bleed. He and Curry managed to describe the attacker and vehicle to police, who identified the suspect as Cedric “CJ” Moore. According to KMA Land, Moore is currently on probation for felony domestic assault in another case.
“This is a cowardly and disgusting act of inexcusable violence on one of our public streets,” said Sgt. Joey Hann, a representative from the Cape Girardeau Police Department.
Curry explained that he routinely puts on evening street performances with his students but that this was the first time they had any trouble. Neither he nor Ethan knows Moore, and the assault appears to be a random act of violence.
Since the attack, a fundraiser was established to show support for Fingerprint Urban Dance Studio and Ethan. Many have contributed and continue to speak highly of Curry’s passion for teaching youths.
“It’s a chance to showcase what we’re doing in a positive light, while giving kids a chance to perform and make some revenue off their passion,” Curry said. “Monetizing our craft is part of what we learn. Artists don’t always think about that.”
There was no early indication that the police would treat the case as a potential hate crime, even though the attacker didn’t know his victim and may have targeted him based on race.
Most disturbing is the media’s handling of the story. Despite the shocking and vile nature of a grown man randomly assaulting a child, mainstream outlets have widely ignored the case. However, many have pointed out that if the races were reversed, the media would have made the story front-page news and purported that it was a hate crime.
Ethan’s mother has said that her son is recovering but is still in pain. Of course, even after he heals from his physical injuries, he may still live with the psychological effects of being randomly assaulted by an adult stranger.
The media are once again manipulating the news we see in order to propagate a narrative. If we don’t share the stories the mainstream media bury, innocent victims like Ethan will continue to be ignored in favor of their abusers.