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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: The bias crime cover up in Virginia grows

By Bill O'Reilly

Last week "The Factor" reported on a bias assault in Norfolk that left two newspaper reporters injured. Shortly after 11 pm on April 14th, 26 year-old Marjon Rostami and 31-year-old David Forster were coming home from the theater when someone threw a rock at their vehicle. Mr. Forster got out to confront the assailant and was set upon by approximately five African-American young men who beat him.

The thugs then attacked Ms. Rostami as a crowd of about 30 surrounded the vehicle and witnessed the assault. Hysterical, Miss Rostami called 911 and the police arrived.

The initial police report described the assault as a bias crime and a 16-year-old has been arrested. But now, the Norfolk police say it was not a bias crime and are refusing to release the 911 tape saying that would hurt their investigation. How? How could that be possible?

In addition, both victims have filed complaints against the Norfolk Police Department alleging the investigation was mishandled and the cops didn't really want to arrest the assailants or even find them. At the same time the newspaper the reporters work for, "The Virginian Pilot", didn't cover the story for two weeks. Despite the fact the reporters had to take a week off from work to deal with their wounds.

The editor of the "Pilot" Denis Finley declined to be interviewed by me but did talk to Jesse Watters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FINLEY: This story has been blown out of proportion. And that's not to diminish the fact that I had two reporters who got beaten. But what it amounts to is a... a street altercation, not a mob attack. No evidence too that it was a racial attack. So...

WATTERS: We spoke to some people today who said that, you know, there may have been some Trayvon Martin retribution. You had people on ABC saying that when people come around this neighborhood that aren't from this neighborhood, they better watch out. You know, if you have black mobs, five or six people beating up white people, you don't think that the community deserves to know that?

FINLEY: Well, was it a black mob or was it a street altercation? There were a handful of people.

WATTERS: Your own reporters said that it was about 30 people on the street.

FINLEY: On the street, yes. But a handful involved in the fight. A handful.

WATTERS: But they were outmanned by quite a considerable amount of people.

FINLEY: Sure, sure.

WATTERS: And a woman was attacked.

FINLEY: A woman was involved. But again a simple assault, it was not a mob attack. And there is no way for me to know whether it was racially- motivated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Well here is some advice to Mr. Finley, it's your job to find out whether it was racially-motivated. That's what the press does. You don't sit around wondering and ignoring the story. That's absurd.

It didn't take long for Jesse to find neighborhood guys who say they saw what happened when the two reporters were assaulted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WATTERS: How many guys came after him? Like five or six or all 15?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think all of them.

WATTERS: You saw it happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WATTERS: And they were whooping up on the girl, too right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WATTERS: She didn't really deserve it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

WATTERS: Was is a racial thing like a Trayvon Martin situation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now, the story gets even more disturbing. The victims Miss Rostami and Mr. Forster have received death threats and had to leave the Norfolk area for a time. They now have security guards providing protection because the situation is so volatile.

In the face of all this Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says his office will not intervene or even provide oversight. Cuccinelli also says he will not ask that the 911 tape be released. Since the victims have filed formal charges against the Norfolk Police Department, we're obviously having trouble getting a handle on the case, we find the attorney general's apathy troubling to say the least.

So we called Virginia Governor Bob McDonald who late this afternoon said he would take a look at the case. The Governor has the power to order a state investigation which this situation badly needs.

Finally, unlike the Trayvon Martin situation, which the national media aggressively covered, "The Factor" is the only national news program reporting the story. Yes, Trayvon was killed and these two reporters are alive. But it is inconceivable that had a white mob set upon two black Americans the media would sit it out. But that's what's happening in the Virginia case.

And that's "The Memo."

Now for the "Top Story" tonight, a debriefing of Jesse Watters who joins us now.

All right, the two reporters who got beat up.

WATTERS: Yes.

O'REILLY: All right, what's their situation now?

WATTERS: Well, physically they've healed from their injuries but they are still incredibly shaken up. The male victim was from South Dakota. He wasn't a street smart kid. He was very naive at this point. He knows he should have never exited the vehicle. And right now he feels a little emasculated because he was beaten up in front of his girlfriend and wasn't able to protect her.

O'REILLY: And the girl came out to try to save him, right? Came out of the vehicle. She got beaten up.

WATTERS: Right. And she got beaten up.

And from what I hear also, she has been hysterical and livid at the local press coverage. She called in to a local news reporter and was complaining at the top of her lungs about the biased portrayal that they're getting in the news down there.

O'REILLY: What do you mean by that? I mean, what is she upset about exactly?

WATTERS: I think what the local press is doing is they're taking everything from the police report and they're kind of discounting the eyewitness testimony from these two reporters.

O'REILLY: So that the woman who was assaulted doesn't think that the... the case is being reported accurately? Does it... as far as the seriousness is concerned?

WATTTERS: She doesn't like the reportage down there from the local press. But actually, they are pleased with the fact that now the gang unit has taken over the investigation within the Norfolk PD.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, you say they have received death threats.

WATTERS: Yes.

O'REILLY: The two reporters?

WATTERS: They have.

O'REILLY: Why? About... what did they do? They just get beat up?

WATTERS: I think there is a lot of racial animosity in Norfolk. And I think because the story was so explosive and because it was two weeks before it came out, it was like a top was put on this powder keg and all of a sudden it exploded and a lot of people in the black community in the wake of Trayvon Martin are kind of using this as leverage or a kind of avenue to explode.

O'REILLY: Do you think -- do you think that this attack was racially motivated or was it's just a bunch of kids hanging around at 11 at night with nothing to do and they decided to cause trouble?

WATTERS: Personally I don't think they hate white people but they did tell me they target white people because it gives them street credit.

O'REILLY: Who told you that? Who told you that?

WATTERS: One of the eye witnesses. They attack white people because it's an easy mark. They can take them down and it gives them street credit.

O'REILLY: The editor didn't look very good... Finley.

WATTERS: No he didn't.

O'REILLY: I mean, you know, I'm not sure, you flood the zone with reporters. And you find out.

WATTERS: Yes.

O'REILLY: And we sent you down there, you are not from on around there. We sent you down from New York and you got 10 times as much information as his whole staff has got in three weeks.

WATTERS: Right, right.

O'REILLY: So what do you think that's all about? Is Finley afraid of the story? Is that... he must be afraid.

WATTERS: I think he's afraid of the story and I think it's bad PR for the city. It's bad PR for the beach community that gets a lot of tourism. And if he was a smart businessman he would have owned the story.

O'REILLY: Sure, right.

WATTERS: I mean it would have gotten massive clicks, massive distribution everywhere. But he was too scared and now because he waited so long, he put his own reporters in danger.

O'REILLY: Well, he certainly doesn't have their back.

WATTERS: No.

O'REILLY: And now they are getting death threats. So anyway.

All right, now we're going to continue covering this story particularly at the state level. We expect the Governor of Virginia to intervene here. It needs to be, that needs to happen. We need to get the 911 tape also. That needs to happen.

All right, Jesse. Thanks very much.

WATTERS: Thank you.

Pinheads & Patriots

Charles Barkley is an outspoken guy, and last night at the Boston Celtics-Atlanta Hawks game, Barkley deviated from basketball commentary into some political stuff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney.

CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA ANALYST: We're going to beat you like a drum in November. Don't take it personally. You seem like a nice guy, but you're going down, bro.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Well, Barkley is a "Pinhead" for using sports airtime to air his political agenda.

Hey, Charles, you want to do that, get a cable news program or come out here. We'd love to talk to you about the presidential election.