Wild West Philly: Vigilantes Beat Alleged Rapist

Police rewarded past vigilantes, setting a dangerous precedent

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A West Philly mob chased down and beat a man accused of raping a woman. The city will have the Wild West on its hands if it doesn’t defuse the stupidity it encouraged.

    An Overbrook woman was raped early Saturday morning as she waited for her bus at 56th and Lansdowne to go to work. Later that day she reportedly saw the alleged rapist and chased him down. Her neighbors followed suit, reports Metro and 6ABC.

    Nineteen-year-old Jamil Harper was chased down, beaten and physically held by a group of people until police arrived.

    According to 6ABC, word of the rape had spread throughout the Overbrook neighborhood and residents had been hunting for him all day.

    We take justice in our own hands if we have to," Lou Colzie told 6ABC, using language right of a spaghetti western. He was one of about 20 residents who captured Harper.

    This is not a new phenomenon in PhiladelphiaMayor Michael Nutter and the Philadelphia Police Department have not only encouraged such behavior, but have actively rewarded it.

    Consider the case of Jose Carrasquillo, who was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in Kensington earlier this summer. In June, a group from the girl’s neighborhood tracked him down and beat him so severely that he spent two days in the hospital.

    Mayor Nutter gave a speech exalting Carrasquillo’s mob for its “passion” and Philadelphia Police rewarded the vigilantes with $11,500 -- $10,000 funded by Philly’s Fraternal Order of Police and $1,500 by a local business.

    After that, it was completely forseeable that a mob would again take justice into its own hands.  If the authorities are at all embarrassed about outsourcing their responsibilities, or about the fact that a victim feels she has to turn to street justice, it doesn't show.