A victim of one of Mark Wahlberg’s racially motivated attacks as a teenage delinquent in racially divided Boston in the 1980s insists he shouldn’t be granted a pardon for his crimes, according to USA Today.
Kristyn 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 Georgia, said in an interview.
“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.”
Court documents in the 1986 attack identify Wahlberg among a group of white boys who harassed the school group as they were leaving the beach in Dorchester, a mixed but racially divided Boston neighborhood that had seen tensions during the years the city was under court-ordered school integration, reports USA Today.
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.
The Chicago Tribune reports 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.”
The 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 a hospital and landed Wahlberg in prison.
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 around.
“I have apologized, many times,” he told the Associated Press 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.”
[Image via Daily Mail]