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Police: Norfolk attack not racially motivated

NORFOLK, Va.(WTKR) –  Police in Norfolk arrested a 16-year-old suspect and charged the teenager with a simple assault by a mob, participating in a riot and throwing a missile at a car.

The charges are in connection to an attack of two Virginian Pilot reporters who were off duty on April 14 when they said they were assaulted at the corner of Church and Brambleton in Norfolk.

The charges, assault by mob and participating in a riot, are because more than one person was involved, not because anyone thinks this was a race riot as some cable news TV shows have reported, Norfolk police said.

“At no time in our investigation or in our statements taken by the victims did it appear that the assault was racially motivated,” said Acting Police Chief Sharon Chamberlin.

The Editor of the Pilot, Denis Finley, blamed the Pilot’s OP-ED department for starting the controversy with a piece published Tuesday. In it, the columnist wrote about the assault on two of her co-workers. The reporters told the columnist there was a crowd of over 100 people on the sidewalk during the attack.

Reporter Marjon Rostami locked her door when someone threw a rock at the car, it was reported. Reporter David Forster got out of his car to confront the person who threw it, that’s when the assault happened, the paper reported.

”People did not carry out the assault. There was a large group in the vicinity,” Chamberlin added.

Rostami and Forster aren’t talking to the media about that night anymore, but their boss has talked to them about what happened.

Finley also pointed at the OP-ED for bringing in the race issue. Finley added the piece is “the one that got the ball rolling.” It mentioned race, and it mentioned Trayvon Martin.

The arrest is not the end of the investigation, more arrests could come, police said.