A victim of one of Mark Wahlberg's racially motivated attacks as a teenager in segregated Boston in the 1980s insists he shouldn't be granted a pardon for his crimes. 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 Decatur, Georgia, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't really care who he is. It doesn't make him any exception.”
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, 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 the 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 AP in December.