What We Know About the Alleged Hate Crime Against a Pro-Cop Teen

The teenager apparently posted favorably about cops after seeing Black Lives Matter shirts at school last week.

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Oct 4 2016, 10:02pm

A crowd gathers at a peaceful vigil and march held in Huntsville, Alabama, Friday, July 8, 2016. The event included speeches, prayers and a march from to the city's Fallen Officer Memorial. (Bob Gathany/AL.com via AP)

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A 17-year-old in Alabama was brutally beaten on Friday in what his mother says was a hate crime targeting the teen for his support of police in America.

Brian Ogle, a student at Sylacauga High School, was found in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store with a skull fracture and severe bruising after a homecoming football game. Police believe multiple assailants were involved, although no arrests had been made as of Tuesday.

Authorities told a local ABC affiliate that there's no reason to believe that supporters of Black Lives Matter coordinated the attack, though Ogle's school was on lockdown earlier last week after threats of racially motivated violence appeared on social media. Sylacauga police chief Kelley Johnson released a statement asking residents not to jump to conclusions about what happened and why.

A Facebook account that appears to belong to the teenager reveals a preoccupation with the racial strife that has dominated American life in recent years. That tension was reignited during a violent summer that saw the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers, along with assassination-style attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

The teenager apparently posted favorably about cops after seeing Black Lives Matter shirts at school last week.

In a viral clip shared on the Facebook account on September 26, a man holds a "Black Lives Matter" sign in what the video calls a "white neighborhood" and an "All Lives Matter Sign" in what is referred to as a "black neighborhood." In the latter, the host appears to endure a beatdown.

"Clearly shows as to why things happen," the account owner, apparently the victim of the attack, commented above the video.

Back in August, the Southern Poverty Law Center classified White Lives Matter—which one might call a cousin of the more parochial, pro-cop Blue Lives Matter—as a hate group. Mark Potok of the SPLC told me his organization makes its decisions based on the ideology of a particular group's leadership.

"Although some people who have participated in Black Lives Matter rallies and other events have done some unpleasant things, its just false that Black Lives Matter is a hate group whose leadership has suggested white people and police officers or anything," Potok says. "Black Lives Matter has been subjected to a propaganda campaign thats really unfair."

In May, the State of Louisiana became the first to make police officers a protected class under its hate crimes law––a decision that Potok from the SPLC says his organization takes issue with, since one's occupation isn't an immutable characteristic like skin color, nor as deep-seated as a religious belief. Plus, there's the fact that cops already have special protections under the law in most states.

"If kill you, I go to prison for 15 years," Potok told me. "If I kill a cop, I am almost certainly gonna be on death row."

Ogle, who suffered brain trauma, is now said to be in fair condition, and police have interviewed about 20 people so far in an attempt to piece together what happened. But for her part, the teenager's mother is telling the local press the school failed to take the threat of violence seriously, and that her child was singled out for backing law enforcement.

"I want to see them in jail," she said. "This most certainly is a race issue, it's a hate crime."

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.