Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hate crime?

While the Minnesota Supreme Court is busy calling the "shall-issue" Conceal Carry bill unconstitutional for saving paper, the Star Tribune reminds us why law-conscious Minnesotans need the ability to protect ourselves:
Nine people have been arrested in an attack on a 15-year-old boy who was dragged from a Metro Transit bus, beaten and robbed before he was able to flee and get help.

The ninth suspect was arrested Tuesday in the attack on the teenager, who was riding the bus from downtown Minneapolis through the North Side on April 2 when he was dragged off near 34th and Fremont Avs. N.

The victim was punched, stomped on and kicked in the face, according to charges filed Monday against one of the suspects. Authorities said they expect that more charges will be filed this week against seven juvenile suspects and an adult suspect.

Three charges were filed Monday against Markee L. Colquitte, 18, of Minneapolis.

Colquitte was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, kidnapping and third-degree riot.

Some of the suspects have been identified as members of the Tre-Six Vice Lords street gang, said Mike Martin, regional commander of the Minnesota Gang Strike Force.

That relatively small gang, made up of mostly juveniles and young adults, is suspected of committing robberies and assaults and trafficking in crack cocaine and marijuana in north Minneapolis, Martin said.

According to the criminal complaint filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court, the victim boarded the bus at 7th St. and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Six to 10 young males in the back of the bus surrounded him and taunted him, making repeated references to his race (the victim is white, the suspects black). When the bus stopped at 34th and Fremont, they grabbed him and pulled him off, the complaint said. They punched and kicked the victim, breaking his wallet chain and fleeing with the wallet, which contained $17.

He ran to a nearby convenience store and called 911. He suffered scrapes and bruises to his face, forehead, hands and back, the complaint said.

Video surveillance from the bus shows the group dragging the victim onto the sidewalk, according to Metro Transit police.

"It was outrageous," said Metro Transit police Capt. Dave Indrehus. "The victim in this case was totally innocent, had nothing to do with these parties."

The video shows that other bus passengers did not try to intervene, Indrehus said. "Quite frankly, I don't know if I would blame them," he said. "You may end up becoming a victim yourself."

The surveillance tape did not capture the bus driver's actions, he said.
The bus driver called dispatch and then drove off while the beating was still taking place. Passengers on the bus made no attempt to step in. Police can only "serve and protect" when they're present. While the Strib will never call this a "hate crime" because the victim was white, Minnesota law increased the chances this kid would be robbed and beaten. If one person on that bus had the legal right to carry a concealed gun, this story would likely have the "good guy" winning.

Imagine a man or woman who had a clean criminal record, no history of mental illness and had taken and passed the required gun safety course - all prerequisites to qualifying for a permit under the now-unconstitutional "shall-issue" concealed-carry law.

Imagine this legally armed citizen happened to pack heat that day and took the responsibility of coming to the defense of this kid? While the good samaritan wouldn't have been autorized to use lethal force unless he or the victim were threatened with immenent death, namely a knife or gun, he/she could have pulled the gun to scare off the attacking mob. It's pretty reasonable that word would have gotten back to Thug Central that what they thought were sitting ducks are actually armed citizens.

And what if the citizen was authorized, based on threat level, to use lethal force? Word would travel double-time to Thug Central that instead of getting another line on your very own rap sheet, you get your very own funeral.

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