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Police say by up to 12 people last week in a Detroit neighborhood after the 54-year-old tree trimmer struck a 10-year-old boy with his truck.
, who ran into the street and suffered a broken leg in the accident.
But Utash was injured far worse when the crowd, who media reports say are "all presumed to be black," swarmed the white truck driver.
As Utash remains in critical condition, a fund drive to raise money to pay his hospital bills has zoomed past six-figures in donations.
And columnists in Detroit are pointing to the colorless support for Utash as a hopeful sign that the city is transcending the kind of racial divisions this kind of case can raise.
notes that Rochelle Riley, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, writes that while the dozen or so attackers are "presumed black," the outrage for what happened to Utash, a 54-year-old white man, has come from people of all races:
"The attack didn t pit white people against black people. Outrage came from people of different colors, different communities, different generations. Good people became joined in heartbreak."
Riley writes that despite racial and economic differences Metro Detroit, "we are more alike than we are different. We are good people versus bad, people who care versus people who don t," MLive.com reported.
Similarly, Nolan Finley, of the Detroit News, recounts a time he came across an accident scene in downtown Detroit, MLive.com reported. In that incident, a white suburbanite had accidentally hit an African American man, but here was no mob violence.
The difference? That accident occurred in the police-protected downtown. By contrast, bankrupt Detroit s neighborhoods, like the area where Utash was beaten, are virtually lawless.
"It s a reminder again that Detroit is two cities. More than 300 people were murdered here last year. Most of the violence occurred in neighborhoods that have been allowed to become virtually lawless the vicious gang that attacked Utash clearly had no fear a patrol car might drive by at any moment. There s no telling when they last saw a cop on their street," Finley wrote.
Police said that a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old have been arrested in connection with the assault. Few details were offered, and police said the investigation remains in the early stages, with eight to 10 people still being sought in the beating and robbery.
So what role, if any, do you think race played in the initial attack and is playing now as Detroit comes to grips with this violence and unites to assist the beaten driver with his recovery?
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