U.S. News


Was Beating Of White Driver In Detroit A Hate Crime?

Some believe the tragic beating of Steven Utash is a hate crime, and Detroit's police chief says his department is considering this possibility.
Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 08, 2014

"I didn't think they were going to arrest any at all, and now to hear they have four total, that's great." (Via WXYZ)

Steven Utash is still in a coma after being severely beaten Thursday of last week by a mob of more than 10 people. The story is unfortunate for all sides involved.

Utash is a 54-year-old grandfather who hit an 11-year-old child while driving in his truck. You can see in this surveillance video the boy walks into the street before getting hit by the truck. The child broke his leg but otherwise will be fine. 

When Utash stopped his car and got out to help the young boy, Detroit police say men angry over the accident attacked him.

It wasn't until this woman, a retired nurse, came to his defense that the crowd let up. "I got down there with him, and I started tending to his wounds, and I told them, 'Do not touch him again.'" 

Monday investigators arrested two more men, ages 24 and 30, for Utash's beating. They join two teenagers, 16 and 17 years old, who were arrested Saturday. The 17-year-old will be charged as an adult. 

Steve Utash is a white man and was beaten by a reportedly all-black crowd, which has led some to call his beating more than a random act of violence.

"We all know that if this were a black driver and a white mob, this would have been national news for weeks upon weeks upon weeks." (Via WJBK)​


"If this perhaps would have been reversed ... there would have been marches. There would have been rallies." (Via WXYZ)

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says his department is considering all possibilities in its investigation, including the idea of Utash's beating being a hate crime.


"The issue of race is being looked at. ... It's not a sole focus." 

But in a separate interview with The Detroit News, he says the bigger problem is Detroit's culture of violence. 

"I've not seen this kind of violent culture in other cities. ... It certainly exists, but not to this extent. ... It's all too common here. And Detroiters are getting fed up. They're tired of being victims."

The Utash family has set up a GoFundMe page, which has almost tripled its initial goal of $50,000.