PITTSBURGH — Activists have called for prosecutors to investigate the stabbing of a 24-year-old black man outside a Pittsburgh bar as a hate crime after video emerged of the white suspect using a racial epithet.
Joden Rocco has been charged with homicide in the death of Dulane Cameron Jr. Police allege he had just been ejected from Tequila Cowboy around 2 a.m. Sunday when he started a confrontation with Cameron and Cameron’s friend, who also is black, on a sidewalk. The men scuffled and police said Rocco stabbed Cameron in the neck and fled.
According to an affidavit, a shirtless Rocco was arrested shortly after the stabbing after flagging down police hoping for a ride home.
An Instagram video posted by WPXI-TV shows 24-year-old Rocco saying that he’s trying to see how many times he can use a racial epithet before being thrown out of bars. It wasn’t clear when the video was posted to his account. Instagram stories expire 24 hours after they are posted.
A spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.
“We are certainly aware of some of the attitudes, opinions and positions that the defendant has posited, but we have not made a decision as to whether or not additional charges are warranted,” said Mike Manko.
The Allegheny County Public Defender’s office, which is representing Rocco, said Thursday it can’t comment on the case.
Activists with the group Partners in Justice tell the Tribune Review they have unearthed Facebook posts on Rocco’s account espousing racist and white supremacist views.
The group formed in the aftermath of the June police shooting of unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose.
Ashely Palmer said the group started receiving messages about Rocco’s Facebook activity and screenshots of allegedly racist postings shortly after his arrest. Her group is urging the district attorney to investigate the stabbing as a hate crime.
Cameron’s father told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was made aware of Rocco’s allegedly racist postings but said he harbors no anger.
“He has my forgiveness,” Dulane Cameron Sr. told the newspaper Tuesday. “As Jesus, humble on the cross, said, ‘Father forgive them; they know not what they do.’ And I’m feeling the same way.”
He believes evil forces pushed Rocco to act.
“My heart goes out to that man and it goes out to his family for what he has to face,” he said.