It's not surprising that a group of Kensington residents beat the man suspected of brutally raping an 11-year-old girl. It is surprising how nonchalant the city's authorities are about the whole thing.
In all the media coverage of the story, this is the loudest statement of vigilantism that can be found, from Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay:
"The people took it [the case] to heart," said Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey. "It says a lot about the community."
Ramsey noted, however, that he didn't condone the burst of vigilante justice. "They injured him pretty badly," he said.
Seems like a pro-forma "don't condone" statement, doesn't it? Perhaps that's understandable: The original crime was horrific.
But our friend Brendan Skwire makes a good point at his blog today:
I can’t rock the celebration of vigilante justice, and I can’t celebrate the beating of someone suspected, but not actually convicted, of raping someone. Not even a child.
Because sometimes the police get it wrong. Sometimes the wrong person is named for a crime.
I hope Carrasquillo IS the right guy: nobody needs a monster who preys on children roaming their neighborhood. And I sympathize with the angry, frightened residents of Kensington who caught the guy. In fact, bravo to you all for making a citizen’s arrest, and holding him until the police arrived.
But I cannot condone a mob beating the shit out of him. Because what if they were wrong? What if they beat the wrong man?
What the Daily News celebrates as “community justice” is better known as “mob justice”. And it’s nothing to be proud of.
Bill O'Reilly sure does love Philadelphia. He did a segment last night about the Kensington mob that beat the rape suspect -- and while we don't watch the show, nor can we find a video or transcript of the segment -- we're reliably told that he suggested the vigilantes should be prosecuted for taking the law into their own hands.