During a school field trip to the beach in 1986, a group of largely black fourth-graders were chased down the street as a group of white teenagers threw rocks and hurled racial slurs at them; one of those teens was none other than actor and former rapper Mark Wahlberg.
Now nearly 30 years later, the former Calvin Klein model and Boogie Nights star is formally asking for a pardon in connection to the 1986 assault, as well as another from 1988 in which two Vietnamese men were beaten during a robbery.
Opinion has been mixed as to if the Transformers actor should be forgiven or if the assaults should remain on his record. He’s openly admitted his past transgressions, using his acting career and later accomplishments to show that he’s a far different person that he was at 15. Filing an application in Massachusetts, he’s formally requesting an unconditional pardon for his prior conviction; having previously served time after assaulting two Vietnamese men in 1988.
Receiving a slap on the wrist, Wahlberg and the other teens were issued civil rights injunctions for the initial attack and threatened with jail if they committed any other similar crimes.
According to Kristyn Atwood, who says she still has scars from the rocks thrown that day,“I don’t think he should get a pardon. I don’t really care who he is.” She added, “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.”
Mary Belmonte, the teacher who was on the trip that day, “I believe in forgiveness. 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.”
Attwood however is not convinced, “It was a hate crime and that’s exactly what should be on his record forever.”