THREE JUVENILES accused of assaulting a cabdriver and his passenger in Center City Saturday night while shouting racial slurs will not be charged with a hate crime, the District Attorney's Office said yesterday.
The teens, who are black, were not charged with hate crimes because there was no evidence that the assault had been motivated by the race of the victims, who are white, said Tasha Jamerson, D.A. spokeswoman. Just shouting racial epithets during the commission of a crime doesn't rise to the level of ethnic intimidation, she said.
"They just didn't have that in this case," she said. "If they had somebody who, two blocks before, heard them say, 'We're going to beat somebody up because they're white, brown or purple,' it might be different."
However, the three teens - two of whom are 17 and one who is 15 - have all been hit with additional counts of aggravated assault, since the passenger in the cab, Brian Goldman, came forward Monday.
About 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Goldman was in a cab that was stopped at a red light at 15th and Chestnut streets when he and his 53-year-old cabdriver were assaulted at random.
Goldman escaped. The cabbie, whom police have not identified, was able to flag down officers who nabbed the attackers. Goldman said that he hadn't heard any of the attackers make racial comments, but police said that the cabbie heard them.