In mid-August an Alaska Native man was assaulted by a young white couple who threw eggs at him and kicked him while using racial slurs.
Robert Gum, 19, and Deanna Powers, 20, were charged with forth degree assault and second degree harassment by Anchorage police for the August 5 assault on Eddie Barr. In what Anchorage police called “very direct slurs against Alaska Natives,” the two reportedly used a mock Native voice to yell at Mr. Barr “I want Monarch vodka” and “I hate Eskimos,” also threatening to cut him and knock his teeth out. Gum and Powers later posted a video of their assault on YouTube.
The state charges are both misdemeanors and carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $10,000 fine . The FBI is also reported to be investigating whether the assault violated federal civil rights laws. In 2001 and 2003 in Anchorage indigenous people were targeted with paint guns while in 1979 a Native man was beaten to death with a hockey stick. Eight hate crimes were reported by the Anchorage Police in 2007 and 6 in 2006 (Anchorage Daily News, August 13,14, 2009; Indianz.com). While Alaska has a penalty-enhancing hate crimes statute, it apparently only applies to felony charges.