4 days ago
BOSTON — A victim of one of Mark Wahlberg’s racially motivated
attacks as a teenage delinquent in segregated Boston in the 1980s
insists he shouldn’t be granted a pardon for his crimes.
Atwood was among a group of mostly black fourth-grade students on a
field trip to the beach in 1986 when Wahlberg and his white friends
began hurling rocks and shouting racial epithets as they chased them
down the street.
“I don’t think he should get a pardon,” Atwood,
now 38 and living in Decatur, Georgia, said in an interview with The
“I don’t really care who he is. It doesn’t make
him any exception. If you’re a racist, you’re always going to be a
racist. And for him to want to erase it I just think it’s wrong,” she
Mary Belmonte, the white teacher who brought the students to
the neighborhood beach that day, sees things differently. “I believe in
forgiveness,” she said. “He was just a young kid — a punk — in the mean
streets of Boston. He didn’t do it specifically because he was a bad
kid. He was just a follower doing what the other kids were doing.”
43-year-old former rapper, Calvin Klein model and “Boogie Nights” actor
wants official forgiveness for a separate, more severe attack in 1988,
in which he assaulted two Vietnamese men while trying to steal beer.
That attack sent one of the men to the hospital and landed Wahlberg in
Wahlberg, in a pardon application filed in November and
pending before the state parole board, acknowledges he was a teenage
delinquent mixed up in drugs, alcohol and the wrong crowd. He points to
his ensuing successful acting career, restaurant ventures and
philanthropic work with troubled youths as evidence he’s turned his life
“I have apologized, many times,” he told the AP in
December. “The first opportunity I had to apologize was right there in
court when all the dust had settled and I was getting shackled and taken
away, and making sure I paid my debt to society and continue to try and
do things that make up for the mistakes that I’ve made.”
© Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File
by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File
Court documents in the 1986 attack identify Wahlberg among a group of
white boys who harassed the school group as they were leaving Savin Hill
Beach in Dorchester, a mixed but segregated Boston neighborhood that
had seen racial tensions during the years the city was under
court-ordered school integration.The boys chased the black
children down the street, hurling rocks and racial epithets including
“Kill the n—–s!” until an ambulance driver intervened. Wahlberg was
15 at the time.
Atwood still bears a scar from getting hit by a
rock. No one was seriously injured, but the attack left other invisible —
and indelible — scars.
“I was really scared. My heart was beating
fast. I couldn’t believe it was happening. The names. The rocks. The
kids chasing,” Belmonte told the AP.
Wahlberg and two other white
youths were issued a civil rights injunction: essentially a stern
warning that if they committed another hate crime, they would be sent to
In 1988, Wahlberg, then 16, attacked two Vietnamese men while trying to steal beer near his Dorchester home.
to the sentencing memorandum, he confronted Thanh Lam, a Vietnamese
immigrant, as he was getting out of his car with two cases of beer.
Wahlberg called Lam a “Vietnam f—— s—” and beat him over the head
with a 5-foot wooden stick until Lam lost consciousness and the rod
broke in two.
Documents say Wahlberg ran up to another Vietnamese
man, Hoa Trinh, and asked for help hiding. After a police cruiser drove
past, he punched Trinh in the eye. Later, he made crude remarks about
Wahlberg ultimately was convicted of assault
and battery, marijuana possession and criminal contempt for violating
the prior civil rights injunction. Trinh declined to be interviewed by
AP, and efforts to locate Lam were unsuccessful.
Judith Beals, a
former state prosecutor involved in the cases, said Wahlberg’s crimes
stand out because he violated the injunction with an even more violent
attack on people of yet another race.
“It was a hate crime and that’s exactly what should be on his record forever,” Atwood said.
AP reporters Johnny Clark in Atlanta, Steve LeBlanc in Boston and John Carucci in New York contributed to this report.
© AP Photo/Elise Amendola
In this Dec. 15, 2014 photo, Mary Belmonte reviews newspaper
clippings she had collected about Mark Wahlberg at her home in
Westwood, Mass. Belmonte, a retired teacher, spoke about a 1986 incid…
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