Calls grow for hate crime charges in beating

The family of a black man allegedly beaten with bats is outraged that the suspects are not facing hate crime charges.Joining their criticism are Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, Rev. Al Sharpton and the family?s lawyer Fred Brewington. Suozzi is asking state lawmakers to change the hate crime statute.
News conferences were held Wednesday outside of the Roosevelt deli where 52-year-old Darrell Jackson was allegedly attacked and at Nassau University Medical Center where Jackson remains hospitalized.
Investigators have said that hate crime charges can't apply because Jackson was not originally targeted due to his race. They say Jackson was attacked because he was panhandling. However, a witness to the alleged beating says he heard the suspects yelling racial slurs at Jackson during the beating.
"We're suggesting that when that type of language is used, in the commission of the crime, that it should be presumptive evidence under the state law that it should be qualified as a hate crime," Suozzi says.
Sharpton says Jackson was targeted because of his race.
?They did not call him a panhandler; they did not call him a street bum,? Sharpton says. ?They called him the N word and told him to go back to Africa. If this is the fact, the case must be charged as a hate crime.?
One of the four Hispanic men accused of beating Jackson is an NYPD officer.
Jackson?s family says he is in extreme pain with spinal swelling and dizzy spells.