Speed Reads

Hate Crimes

New York charged a white racist with terrorism for murdering a black man. Sean Spicer won't talk about it.

On Monday, a 28-year-old white man who has confessed to fatally stabbing a 66-year-old black man, Timothy Caughman, in New York City last week out of racial animus, was charged with murder as an act of terrorism, in addition to murder as a hate crime. "James Jackson prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Monday. Jackson, who grew up and lived in Baltimore, told police he "was angered by black men mixing with white women," New York police said.

Jackson elaborated in a disturbing interview from Rikers Island prison, telling the New York Daily News that killing Caughman was intended as "a practice run" in his drive to prevent mixed-race relationships. He imagined white women thinking, "Well, if that guy feels so strongly about it, maybe I shouldn't do it," he said, adding that he regretted Caughman was "elderly" instead of "a young thug" or "a successful older black man with blonds... people you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put white girls on the wrong path." Jackson's lawyer, Sam Talkin, said if the allegations are anywhere close to true, "we're going to address the obvious psychological issues that are present in this case."

Last week, the NAACP's Sherrilyn Ifill wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to investigate Caughman's murder as a potential federal act of terrorism, and American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan followed up at a Monday press conference about "sanctuary cities," asking Sessions if the Caughman murder was a hate crime. Sessions ignored the question, so Ryan asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the uptick in hate crimes and specifically, "What does this White House say about this obvious apparent hate crime?"

Spicer said he was "not going to reference any specific case before the DOJ right now" — though the Caughman case is being handled in New York State court — assured Ryan that Trump believes "hate crimes and anti-Semitic crimes of any nature should be called out," then pivoted to arguing that "the left" should apologize for "immediately jumping" on "people on the right" in their "rush to judgment on some of the anti-Semitic cases" (apparently referencing a specific case). He suggested he wasn't familiar with the details of the Jackson case, even though Caughman was murdered by a sword in midtown Manhattan, where Trump's wife and youngest son live. Watch the exchange below. Peter Weber