Why Mark Wahlberg Really Wants His History of Racial Attacks Wiped Clean

Back in 1988, actor Mark Wahlberg, then an unknown 16-year-old Boston hood, was implicated in two vicious racially motivated assaults against Asian men. In one of the crimes, Wahlberg punched his victim so hard he was permanently blinded in one eye. He also was implicated, though not arrested, in two other hate crimes involving the harassment and intimidation of African-American kids. Now the actor, who's never apologized directly to any of his victims, is asking the state of Massachusetts to expunge his record so he can be a real-life reserve cop. Basically, Wahlberg wants his felony conviction wiped clean so he can carry a gun.


The details of Wahlberg’s assault case are fairly well-known by now. Before becoming a famous rapper named Marky Mark, Wahlberg attacked a man named Thanh Lam with a stick, attempting to steal two cases of beer the man was carrying. During the assault, Wahlberg referred to Lam as a “Vietnam shit.” While hightailing it away from that crime, just minutes later Wahlberg punched a second Vietnamese man, Hoa Trinh, so viciously he would never regain sight in one eye. Court records obtained by The Smoking Gun indicate Wahlberg, after being arrested, “made numerous unsolicited statements about 'gooks' and 'slant-eyed gooks'." He also told two police officers, "You don't have to let him identify me. I'll tell you now that's the motherfucker whose head I split open."

Wahlberg says he was both high and drunk at the time he attacked the men, and weed was found on his person. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to 90 days in prison, though he only served about half that time. In his recent application, Wahlberg says he’s “deeply sorry for the actions that [he] took on the night of April 8, 1988, as well as for any lasting damage that [he] may have caused the victims.” He goes on to state that in the years since, he has “dedicated [himself] to becoming a better person and citizen."

The crimes for which Wahlberg was arrested turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg in a lengthy rap sheet of racially motivated crimes he commited as a teenager. Documents describe an incident in which Wahlberg and two companions targeted a 12-year-old black kid and his siblings who made the mistake of crossing paths with the actor and friends as they walked home from school. “We don’t like black niggers in the area so get the fuck away from the area,” one of Walberg’s group allegedly saidWahlberg and his cohorts then gave chase on their bicycles, shouting, “Kill the nigger, kill the nigger.” It was only after the kids took refuge in a local Burger King that Wahlberg and his friends stopped following them.

In another incident the next day, Wahlberg and the same two friends spotted a group of black students on a class trip traveling through their neighborhood. They followed the class, “yelling racial epithets” and “throwing rocks.” The group’s chaperone flagged down a passing ambulance to get the assailants to back off. The report goes on to state that, in the aftermath of the attacks, many of the students were left with a high level of “anxiety, fear and intimidation.”

While Wahlberg has suffered no long-term repercussions for his crimes, going on to have a successful career in music, modeling and acting in numerous big-budget Hollywood films, some of his victims still have vivid recollections of the scars from their run-ins with the actor when he was a teenager. One person's youthful indiscretion is another person's first formative brush with racial hatred, trauma and fear. 

"When people talk about racism in Boston, I always remember that," said Krystyn Atwood in an interview with the Boston Globe, reflecting on being hit in the head by one of the rocks thrown by Wahlberg and his crew when she was 9 years old."For him to get it overturned and make it seemed like it never happened? I don't think that's fair." 

I don't either. 

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