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Police: Race Was Motive In Some Attacks At Wisconsin State Fair

(Credit: CBS)

(Credit: CBS)

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS) — Police investigating the violent incidents at the Wisconsin State Fair has led to the arrest of a 16-year-old boy who said he targeted white fairgoers.

The Milwaukee teen told police he and other African-American juveniles beat up white people because they were “easy targets,” according to West Allis police. He also said he “was going along with the crowd” in the robberies that happened after the midway closed last Thursday.

The teen was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery and robbery. Police recommend that he face additional penalties for hate crimes.

On opening night of the fair last week, 31 people were arrested and at least 11 people were hurt. The West Allis Police Department has said race was a factor in 11 violent incidents now under investigation.

CBS affiliate WDJT-TV, Milwaukee, played back some of the 911 tapes from the incident. One man said he was surrounded, and complained, “I’m a citizen and I can’t walk down the damn street.”

Following the attacks, draconian new rules were put in place at the fair to prevent any further problems. Anyone under the age of 18 must now be accompanied by an adult over 21 after 5 p.m.

State Fair police also increased their presence, WDJT reported.

Like Chicago, Milwaukee has seen several incidents of mob violence and theft over the summer, including an incident in which dozens of teens ransacked a gas station.

Several community members attended a town hall meeting at Gordon Park in Milwaukee, to point out that not all young people in that part of Milwaukee make bad decisions. Some teens appeared on a panel at the meeting.

“The kids who were involved in that incident were not them; they are good kids, and that they’re good role models, and they make good contributions to their community,” said Norma Balentine, director of the Milwaukee group Safe & Sound.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)