A few days before last Christmas a man and his girl friend were injured while walking on the Downtown Mall late at night. The man was beaten unconscious. He also suffered cracked ribs, a fractured ankle, a knocked out tooth, and what the police are calling “soft tissue damage.” The woman suffered bruises to the head and torn ear cartilage.
No one else was injured.
The following can be gleaned from the couple’s interview with C-ville Weekly published December 29 and C-ville podcasts (see links below).
Marc Adams, who is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weights about 135 pounds, and his girl friend Jeanne Doucette were walking on the Downtown Mall not long after Marc had gotten off work. Soon after they left Millers, where they had met for a few drinks, Marc tripped and fell not far from the Wells Fargo Bank. As he was getting up, a man approached quickly, said something that Doucette couldn’t make out, and kicked Marc down on the pavement. Another man joined the first. There may have been a third man. One man picked Marc up and threw him down. The men repeatedly kicked and punched him. They kept at it even after he was unconscious. Laughing as they did it.
When Jeanne tried to help Marc, one of the men struck her on the side of the head. She finally backed off and began taking photos. The men fled.
Soon after the attack Courteney Stuart, a reporter for the C-ville Weekly, found out about it from a Facebook clipping someone sent her. She then interviewed Jeanne and Marc. The couple thought the police were investigating the attack so they asked Courteney to hold off submitting her article for publication. December 29 they gave up waiting for the police to publicize their photos and posted them on Facebook. Also the C-ville Weekly published Courteney’s first article and the photos. Only after Courteney talked to the police department were detectives put on the case, over a week after the attack.
About a week later the police identified one of the men from tips. He and a second man then turned themselves in – 19 days after the attack. Timothy Longo, Chief of Police, held a press conference that day. He began by making rather shabby excuses for the police department’s delay in investigating the assault and describing what was being done to preventing such a delay in future. Then he described what he believed had happened.
That is what happened according to police chief Timothy Longo. His evaluation of what happened is a disgrace to the city. A 18.2-57 charge is a misdemeanor, the lowest category of crime, carrying a sentence of at most one year in jail. At the same press conference, according to The Daily Progress:
Even one blow to the head is a very serious matter. According to Jeanne Doucette, the men fled only when they saw the potential of police punishment – thanks to the cell phone and digital camera.
The men the police arrested and released are Malcolm James Stevenson, age 25, and Richard Bernard Spears, aged 23. (Marc and Jeanne are both 39.) On January 12 the blog DTM (Downtown Mall) by David McNair published what it called an “exclusive interview” with the two men. The article says they are openly homosexual, and that: “The interview was facilitated by Kiara Redd-Martin and Kishana Joy Griffin, two young African-American activists (and friends of the men)” The article continues: the two activists “say they feel ‘disappointed and angry’ about the way the story was initially portrayed in the press, and encouraged their friends [Stevenson and Spears] to come forward.” As if the police hadn’t been tipped off first. The following is gleaned from the interview.
Spears and Stevenson say they were standing in the Downtown Mall. Spears says that as Jeanne and Marc walked past, he and Stevenson laughed at them and made a disparaging remark. He says Jeanne then called him a “Black faggot” and “charged” at him. Stevenson says he and Spears are no more guilty than Marc and Jeanne. He says it was a third man who attacked Marc. Marc “got in my face” and he only “pushed him away.”
In other words, it was the woman who attacked Spears. Stevenson and Spears were only defending themselves. The two men managed to escape from her without injury !
The two men make much of having turned themselves in “voluntarily.” They leave out that it took them 19 days to do it and that photographs of at least one of them had been published. And why, if they were innocent, they fled the scene in the first place.
In fact the “voluntary” is disingenuous. It suggests the police didn’t know who the men were until they showed up, but that is not true. According to the police press conference, one of the two men was identified before they turned themselves in. Starting 7:15 in the press conference video: “In response to numerous tips one of the suspects was identified pretty quickly.”
So we have two accounts of what happened. On the one hand the two men and their testimony, on the other Jeanne’s testimony, her photographs, Marc’s X-rays (which he has released to the police and courts), and two independent witnesses.
Even without this evidence, does it sound reasonable that a 39 year old man and woman, walking together from one place to another, passing two men in their 20s, complete strangers taller and heavier than they are (again, Marc has a slight build), would decide to assault them ?
In the DTM blog interview, Spears says that at the time of the attack Jeanne told him that he and Stevenson were going to be portrayed as thugs in the press because she and Marc are white. Is it credible that Jeanne would make such a statement before, during or after a violent attack ?
Spears’ account sounds like something from a black and/or homosexual advocacy script. More likely than getting called a name is that Marc asked Stevenson what he meant, a huge, and naive, mistake.
On NBC WVIR TV, January 14, Natalie Wilson interviewed Stevenson and Spears. Again Kiara Redd-Martin and Kishana Joy Griffin were there to help. Quoting the interview: “media reports have blown the situation out of proportion. You hear nothing of Marc’s and Jeanne’s physical wounds. However, Stevenson’s and Spear’s suffered “emotional scars” !
The interview ignored Marc’s and Jeanne’s injuries. Ignore as in pretend don’t exist, let’s not talk about it, we just want to go forward with our lives – while Marc goes forward on crutches. A glib tongue and self-righteous denials don’t make medical evidence, photographs, and eyewitnesses disappear.
Stevenson and Spears believe they are innocent of wrong-doing. Apparently their idea of wrong-doing doesn’t include striking women in the head, or kicking and punching a man to unconsciousness because they heard, or thought they heard, or claim they heard, an insult.
Stevenson and Spears fled the event, obviously in fear of the police, and didn’t come forward until 19 days later. To repeat, their account sounds like something from a political playbook.
Suppose, contrary to Jeanne’s testimony, that Jeanne or Marc had insulted Stevenson. Words are not punches and kicks. The men didn’t stop beating Marc until after they saw Jeanne taking pictures and other people calling on their cell phones. At that point Marc had been beaten unconscious on the pavement, with multiple fractures. Mere name-calling wouldn’t justify such savagery. And more likely there was no name-calling at all, nothing besides naively asking Stevenson what he had said.
One day the same sort of men might misconstrue what you say and do the same to you. The police or district attorney should revise the charge to aggravated malicious wounding. Given the nature of the attack a misdemeanor charge is an insult to the victims and to the public.
A headline from a page of the Charlottesville city government website: