Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm not so sure I like this

A man is a suspect ,or person of interest if you will, in the beating and rape of an 11 year old girl in Philadelphia, PA. He had not been charged or brought in for questioning yet so a group of upstanding citizens decided to do the grunt work and bring him in for the police.

To make things even more interesting when the police arrived they not only arrested him (on an outstanding warrant on unrelated charges) but police commissioner Charles Ramsey has decided not to press charges against the mob, yes I said mob, that assaulted him. And his attitude is a bit disparaging.

First we have this:
"From what I've seen so far, we have one victim and that's an 11-year-old girl," Ramsey said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Now of course the young girls that was attacked is indeed the victim but to be able to overlook the fact the suspect was beaten by a small mob reeks of selective enforcement. I wonder how selective he would be if the guy had fought back and injured a few members of that mob that attacked him.

Next we have this:
"These people saw him, he attempted to run and they caught up with him," Ramsey said. "If the injuries had been severe, maybe we'd have to rethink it."
So a man can be charged, tried, convicted, and in some cases executed for a crime that he did not commit with no witnesses around while at the same time a man can be chased a beaten in broad daylight on tape and be seen by the cops (because apparently they noted that the assailants stopped when the police arrived) and the ones that beat him aren't charged.

Oh but here is where the Ramsey assures us that he does not condone vigilante justice:
"I think you have to take into account the emotion. I think you have to take into account the severity of the injuries," Ramsey said, adding that he does not condone vigilante justice. "It's unfortunate that we didn't find him first."
Awww damn. You see he does not condone vigilante justice but due to the emotion of the situation and injuried that the girl suffered its okay for an angry mob to chase down a suspect and beat him up but not too badly. And of course he expresses his regret that they did not find him first.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying that he should not be investigated and charged if there is enough evidence however allowing a gang of people to beat up the suspect and then not only not charging them but paid a cash reward to members of the mob is just wrong and it sends out the wrong message.

Edit: I was reading a post on this at feministing and one of the commenters pointed to this article in The Daily News that says the man is in critical condition. Hold up Ramsey was quoted saying "If the injuries had been severe, maybe we'd have to rethink it.". If the injuries were not severe then why is he in critical condition. I personally don't like the idea of criminals suing but in this case I kinda hope he sues the people that beat him, the commissioner that didn't condone it but rewarded the assailants, and the police department for not arresting the assailants. Problem is he would not get a fair shake because people would assume he's a rapist and say he deserved it.

And think about this folks. Being called a person of interest is enough justification to beat a man into critical condition. No arrest. No trial. No verdict. This is that stigma I mentioned a while back. Yes I know there has been mention of physical evidence but that doesn't mean we can skip straight to the excution phase.