Why were there only 3 charged and “arrested” for the anti-gay bashing attack that took place in Center City Philadelphia when there were at least 10 to 12 suspects at the scene?
The two unidentified victims, 26 and 28 year old boyfriends, and several witnesses told NBC Philadelphia that at least two men and six women from the group called the victims “dirty fags” before launching a brutal physical attack on them.
Both victims, beat unconscious, received multiple facial fractures, one had severe bruising on his face and will be required to have his jaw wired shut for two months.
The only three charged, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knot, and 24-year-old Philip Williams, turned themselves in to Central Detectives Wednesday. They were arraigned and released on bail around 3:30 AM.
Knott was released on $50,000 bail, while Williams and Harrigan were released on $75,000 bail.
Some have questioned the Philadelphia Police Departments’ handling of the case. Why did it take 6 days to make an arrest after the attackers were identified by the public? One police source told Philly mag this week that police “don’t have time” to investigate “simple” crimes like these.
If this is the mindset of the cop on the beat, then our community has a problem with the police department as a whole. Yes we may have an LGBT police liaison committee but what good are they when cops on the beat believe such brutal hate attacks are “simple” crimes and that they “don’t have time?”
The police commanders seem to know what to say but if it is not being transferred down to men and women in the ranks then that leadership needs to be questioned. Imagine a racially biased attack, would the Philadelphia Police ranks not have time to investigate such a crime?
It should be noted that Knott’s father is the Police Chief in Chalfont, PA. The question arises, what “professional” courtesy was extended to her and the others charged because of this fact?
Why did the police not go to their homes, arrest them, and place them handcuffed in the back of a police car? Why was the courtesy extended to allow these three suspects to turn themselves in, two through a back door?
But the question still begs, why only three out of at least 10 noted suspects?
When Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was questioned about this his office replied with the following statement:
Based on the evidence, statements from both victims and eyewitness accounts at the scene, the three defendants are the only ones who assaulted the victims in this case.
The defendants have been charged with serious state crimes carrying significant, potentially lengthy sentences.
But according to reports from the victims and witnesses there were at least two men and six women involved in the attack.
When asked if Williams would ask the federal government to pursue federal hate crime charges against the defendants the response was . . .
The availability of additional federal charges, if any, would be a matter of concurrent jurisdiction that would not in itself preclude prosecution in state court.
Is Williams, who is rumored to be running for mayor, playing to his LBGTQ audience for votes? Did he calculate that three persons charged should be enough to secure an LGBTQ voting block?
Are you really telling me that there were no other charges that can be applied to the other attackers? Or do you want us to believe that only three people did this attack while the others watched. Spectators that never called the police to report the attack and who knew who the attackers were and did not immediately come forward and identify them when they were being sought on charges.
Yesterday a rally was held by politicians in Love Park, the usual people came out calling for a Pennsylvania hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. “We want it and we want it now” was the message.
Where have they been in their righteous indignation for the last 10 years? Why did it take a vicious homophobic attack to bring the need for an inclusive hate crime to reach critical mass?
I commend those who came out to support the rally, but rather than rallies we need protest, rather than speeches we need marches. There needs to be a massive protest march to get our point across.
Our righteous indignation must be heard. Three is not enough, nor is non-hate crimes charges. If ever there was a case for federal hate crime charges to be brought this is it. Anything else is a slap in the face the LGBTQ citizens in Philadelphia.
Rather than politicians telling us what they would like to happen, they should be using their positions in elected office to get the feds to get involved immediately.
Three is just not enough?