Sunday, August 11, 2013
Good morning to all of our friends:
Vigilante justice happens when the criminal justice system fails.
On a pleasant, partly sunny afternoon, an armed security guard stood watch over an apartment building in the Hubbard Farms neighborhood in southwest Detroit.
The guard wouldn’t say why he was there. But behind him last Tuesday, scrawled onto the ornate stone facade of the building, the word “rapist” could still be seen, even after efforts that morning to scrub it off. A faded blue arrow sprayed above the graffiti letters still pointed to an apartment window, still condemning whoever lived in that first-floor home.
But the 43-year-old occupant wasn’t there any longer. His family moved him, afraid he’d be killed.
The alleged victim is a 15-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome who told her family three weeks ago that the 43-year-old man raped her. They immediately called the police.
She told the police that the man invited her into his apartment, told her to take off her clothes, and raped her. Then he took nude photos of her with his cell phone.
Although police obtained biological samples for DNA testing from medical personnel (i.e., rape kit swabs), they did not deliver the samples to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab until Monday of last week, an inexcusable 19-day delay.
Meanwhile, news about the assault and the identity of the alleged perpetrator, who struggles with mental illness and is generally regarded as a freak, spread like wildfire throughout the community via social media like facebook as well as word of mouth.
Police finally arrested the man 12-days after the alleged assault, but he refused to answer questions and was released two days later because prosecutors declined to charge him without more evidence, presumably because the crime lab had not received the rape kit for testing. Police did manage to obtain DNA swabs from the suspect to use as a reference sample before they released him.
The community was outraged when the suspect was released without charge. This is what happened next.
It happened about 1 p.m. Monday. The suspect walked past Giovanna’s Lounge. A witness saw a man on a bicycle ride up, carrying a baseball bat. He jumped off and yelled: “You like raping little girls?”
Then he hammered the man’s legs and continued beating him. The witness called police, but they showed up too late, saying they had been diverted to a fatal shooting outside a nearby Rite Aid store.
Meanwhile, the suspect had left Giovanna’s, somehow making his way up the street, where he was accosted again. Witnesses said up to five people beat the man in front of a home on the corner. A young boy said he saw someone kick the man in the face. Police came, witnesses said, but the man went home with a relative, who took him to the hospital with head and leg wounds. No one was arrested in his beating.
The man is fortunate to have survived.
His apartment has been broken into and vandalized. The word, “rapist” has been spray-painted on the walls.
Needless to say, he no longer lives there.
Do you think we will see more vigilante justice as our criminal justice system continues to fail?
Rafael Caro Quintero, walked free Friday after a federal court overturned his 40-year sentence for agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena’s kidnapping, torture and murder. The three-judge appeals court in the western state of Jalisco ordered Caro Quintero’s immediate release on procedural grounds after 28 years behind bars, saying he should have originally been prosecuted in state instead of federal court.
Please keep those donations coming. Although our situation has improved, we are not out of the woods yet.