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Five charged in racially motivated attacks

CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- A 17-year-old boy and four adults were charged Tuesday in three attacks over Memorial Day weekend that have been labeled "racially motivated."

Jon Deters, the son of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, was one of the victims. He was beaten unconscious and suffered a concussion on W. Ninth Street near the library. His girlfriend was hit in the head. Witnesses told police the attackers shouted racial slurs.

"These are the most senseless, cowardly acts when they are racially motivated and you're attacking people from the rear so they cannot defend themselves," Joe Deters said Tuesday.

The grand jury indicted Matthew Johnson, Joshua McCoy, Onea Yapsley and Yahdea Brown on charges of ethnic intimidation, assault, felonious assault and aggravated rioting. A teenage boy was also charged.

Over Memorial Day weekend, tens of thousands of people were downtown for Taste of Cincinnati. 11 people filed police reports claiming they were kicked, punched or stomped by a group of African-American teenagers.

A group of young people punched Noelle Findley's husband and their car.  No one has been charged in their case but she is glad someone will be held accountable for other attacks.
"Where are we going wrong as a society, as a culture, as a community that they think this is OK," Findley asked.

City council member Wendell Young is a former police officer. He said the attacks are devastating. But he said the city is safe and that's why the attacks were so shocking.
"Ethnic intimidation is a horrible crime because that's the one time that you're vulnerable because of who you are. It's not because of the activity that you're engaged in it's simply because you look the way you look and that can't be tolerated either," Young said.

Meanwhile, Joe Deters hopes this incident will lead to a conversation.

"Both good people - both white and black - when this kind of thing happens need to stand up and say something about it and talk about it," Deters said.

Local 12 News reached out to the city's police chief and members of the city's law and public safety committee to discuss the attacks. Some did not return phone calls.

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