Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A look back at Previous Hate Crimes

A Look Back at the Stun Gun Attack

Remember the Vigil this Saturday at 7 p.m. on Public Square. In 2002, Clevelanders were witness to a brutal hate crime against homeless people. Three males from Youngstown attacked homeless people in the center of Cleveland, near where the vigil will take place, while filming their own attacks. They had tried to attack homeless people in Youngstown, but unsuccessfully.

The homeless in Youngstown were not out in the open but in cars and under bridges. The three guys felt it was unsafe sneaking into the woods to attack homeless people in Youngstown.
They drove to the center of Cleveland and used a stun gun to attack 5 or 6 people on Public Square. Their car broke down, and a former homeless person helped them out. The Youngstown teens bragged about their exploits and the good Samaritan saw the video equipment and the stun guns. The teens also broke down in front of the police headquarters, which made it easy the Samaritan to report the incident to the police.

The one using the camera was over 18, Jared, and the other two were juveniles. The two young teens blamed Jarad as the ringleader. The media could not go into the juvenile court and so focused on the one adult. Every media outlet was in court and the prosecutor refused to offer a deal to the adult. All three were only charged with misdemeanors assault. Jarad got 3-4 months in jail which got him fired and his college career was in jeopardy. He tried for shock probation after a month, but with the media glare the judge turned him down.

The two young people said that they were influenced by the adult. The juvenile court prosecutor did not keep NEOCH in the loop at all. We could not do any advocacy because of the cloak of secrecy. The teens got off with six months of community service to be served only on the weekend. No disruption in school or their jobs. In looking at the video tape it was obvious that the camera person, Jared, was not the ringleader.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

No comments: