Police Investigating Assaults

Police are trying to figure out what the deal is with random attacks on people in the greater downtown area, the Progress reports. One attack was on Friday night, when a guy was sucker punched by one kid in a group of a dozen, as he wrote about on cvillenews.com. Another was on JPA a few hours later, when a guy had a rock hurled through his car window while he was driving. And a couple of hours after that, a woman was knocked to the ground by a group of kids on the street outside of the Elks Lodge on 2nd St.

In every case so far, the attacks have come from groups of teenaged African American kids wearing white t-shirts, as is the fashion. This is where community policing efforts are particularly important — a pointed conversation between a friendly police officer and their mothers may be all it takes to nip this in the bud.

72 thoughts on “Police Investigating Assaults”

  1. I am glad to see that this problem is getting more attention. On June 27th, I was nearly assaulted by a smaller group of teens matching this description at the corner of 7th and Jefferson at around 11 pm (I was walking home from work after a 14-hour work day). Thanks to recent news coverage, I was aware of the threat posed by this group of criminals the moment I saw them. Although they asked me for money and approached me in a hostile and openly threatening way, I did not let them get close enough to punch me. I ran. I called the police soon after in order to prevent the group from attacking anyone else that night. I really want to see them punished for what they are doing to law-abiding people. They shouldn’t get off so easy as having their mothers deal with them. How is this fair to the people who have been assaulted? Does the law not apply to these kids?

  2. They shouldn’t get off so easy as having their mothers deal with them. How is this fair to the people who have been assaulted? Does the law not apply to these kids?

    My goal is to see the attacks stop. A secondary goal is to see the guilty parties punished under the law. But, realistically, I don’t think that’s real likely. Even if the group of a couple/few dozens kids that have witnessed these attacks up close was fingered, they’d have to ID the kids who actually committed the crime. It’s tough for the victims to ID their attacker because I expect you’d have a lot of “it was all so fast, I’m not sure, and they were all dressed similarly.”

    That’s just how it went down when I had the same experience in 1996. We IDd the group of kids to the police officer, but he didn’t even pursue it, presumably figuring that they weren’t about to turn each other in.

  3. Waldo, I agree it’s quite unrealistic that anyone would ever be punished, but I’m feeling frustrated that these thugs will essentially get away with hurting people (and costing those who end up in the hospital). That’s not right. The officer I talked to on the night of my incident shared with me how unlikely it was that the police would find and charge anyone in any of these cases. So, I don’t have an illusions about it. But, I think it’s also naive to put much faith in the parenting skills of the mothers.

    Whatever the solution, I’m with you in wanting these attacks to stop.

    In the meantime, downtown businesses won’t be getting my business after 8:00 pm.

  4. I think it’s also naive to put much faith in the parenting skills of the mothers.

    I simplified my point for the purpose of a brief blog entry.

    My reference to community policing is a result of knowing some of the officers in the community policing program in the 90s. They were respected figures in the communities that they worked in, a trusted authority and advisor. The impact that they had was not in law enforcement, but in preventing crimes from happening the first place. Kids didn’t want to let down their friend the officer by committing a crime (or, at least, get caught). Plus, a friendly relationship with the police makes it easier for a parent to say “look, if I find out you had anything to do with this, I am going to talk to Officer Mike.” It’s not a threat to call the police on their kid but, rather, a desire to do right by the community. The officer may decide that it’s a good idea to scare the kid (and set an example) by arrested him, or he may know the kid well enough to realize that stern talking-to is enough prevent a repeat of whatever the kid’s crime was.

    (Jail, of course, is often a terrible environment for kids. To take a kid who did something really stupid once and make him live with criminals for weeks or months can be enough to turn him into a career criminal.)

    Of course, I have no idea who these kids are, where they’re from, why they’re doing this, what their family situations are, and whether they’ve been exposed to a community policing program — I’m just making up an example based on what I’ve seen work in town in the past.

    “An imbecile can, like anyone else, punish crimes; the real statesman knows how to prevent them.” –Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  5. isn’t this the type of thing that used to happen on the corner all the time?

  6. They are gonna pull this s**t on the wrong guy who’s packing heat and get blasted. That will send a message!

  7. Waldo, if the community policing program of the 1990s was discontinued, now would be the time to bring it back. It sounds like a good, proactive way to address this problem. These teens are clearly lacking civic-minded authority figures.

    Thank you for covering this story. I hope to see more on it in the near future.

  8. They are gonna pull this s**t on the wrong guy who’s packing heat and get blasted. That will send a message!

    Crap like this (username “Kill ’em all!”) appears to be one of the major downsides of no longer requiring registration to post comments here. Nobody would take the time to create an account to post something so stupid as a suggestion that all of these kids be shot to death.

    Waldo, if the community policing program of the 1990s was discontinued, now would be the time to bring it back. It sounds like a good, proactive way to address this problem.

    Actually, Frank, I have to admit that I don’t actually have the slightest idea of what the status of it is. If it’s ongoing, perhaps it’s time to increase the number of participating officers. Maybe somebody smarter than me could fill us in?

  9. What makes you think they’re not “packing heat” themselves Mr. Kill’em all? Before anyone decides to get even, you might want to count — how many of them vs. how many of you. Running in this situation sounds good to me.

    But this sounds like it’s escalating enough that everyone needs to come together to figure out what to do. More police presence helps. More things to do in the community for the teens. Local business involvement in showing more presence. Talking to parents. Opening up a can of whoop-ass. Etc.

    Of course the best solution comes from Monty Python in their skit where roving bands of old ladies takes over and start bullying the teen hoodlums. Where are the ladies in red hats when you need them.

  10. Guess we’ll be getting cameras soon to help alleviate this problem. Oh yeh, now THAT’s a great idea.
    Since when do we throw the law in to Mommy’s lap? Where was mommy when folks are getting assaulted? I think when folks are getting beat up, the friendly police officer theory needs to go away. Pronto. And just wait til someone gets mad as hell and isn’t going to take this anymore and shoots one of these kids. Then you’ll se a big bru ha ha about THAT. Probably the poor guy who got assaulted will get charged and arrested for shooting someone.

  11. I won’t be surprised if this is used to add to the argument for more cameras. But of course that will be BS because cameras do little for prevention. They can certainly help with prosecution, but they’re not going to stop the crime from happening. At least that’s the statistics from camera use in UK, US stores, and in US streets currently. Remember, when we give up freedom for security, we deserve (and get) neither.

    Jan, I understand your frustration about where were the parents before this, and perhaps it’s too late for them now. But I think what’s needed is community involvement in addition to police action. The community/parent part is to try to stop the trend and help alleviate future groups. Perhaps the current group are past the point of no return, but hopefully not.

    Hopefully we won’t see shooting and killing from these activities, either from the hoodlums or from people defending themselves. Of course you should defend yourself, but avoiding the situation if possible is always better.

  12. I agree. You won’t catch me wandering around downtown at 1am or even 11am. Back in the day we used to call these kids juvenile delinquents and they were punished accordingly. Today everyone thinks we can just chat these kids up and everything will be fine and dandy. The reason for the lawlessness is two parents working or a single parent home, poverty, no affortable housing, latchkety kids, no father figure. Many reasons.
    It’s just a mess. But I refuse as a citizen to have to walk over to the other side of the mall to get away from the thugs. I refuse. It is the city’s job to patrol the area. On another note, at the Summer of Love concert last Sat. evening I saw not one cop. Zero. In 5 hours. Folks were drunk and stoned. But of course security felt the need to rifle through my purse-twice-to make sure I wasn’t a terrorist. It is all just upside down-I’m treated as a non person while others feel free to beat folks up.

  13. Waldo wrote:>>>>>a guy was sucker punched by one kid in a group of a dozen, as he wrote about on cvillenews.com. Another was on JPA a few hours later, when a guy had a rock hurled through his car window while he was driving. And a couple of hours after that, a woman was knocked to the ground by

  14. Crap like this (username “Kill ‘em all!”) appears to be one of the major downsides of no longer requiring registration to post comments here. Nobody would take the time to create an account to post something so stupid as a suggestion that all of these kids be shot to death.

    Like the username or not, but the poster has a very valid point. There are plenty of people out there with the attitude of “shoot first, ask questions later” and if these kids decide to get out of hand, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to read a story about a victim pulling a gun, killing one of the kids, and getting off on self-defense. It’s things like this that kids don’t think about when they’re out “having fun.”

    It would be very sad for one of these kids to lose their lives over something like this, but it’s a very real possibility when you’re talking about invading people’s personal space and body.

  15. How is this different from the series of assaults on targeted (apparently white, presumably middle-class) UVa students in the Rugby Road area a few years ago?

  16. How is this different from the series of assaults on targeted (apparently white, presumably middle-class) UVa students in the Rugby Road area a few years ago?

    I don’t think the race or economic status of the victims was mentioned, so I don’t know how they relate.

    What was the outcome of that series of assaults? Was there ever any prosecutions, any intervention of other kinds, or did they just sort of go away?

  17. Those attacks took place in January of 2002, and the whole thing got ugly quick. All of those assaults were committed by groups of black teenagers against non-white victims, all entirely unprovoked. The attackers, all CHS students, were arrested in early February, confessing to have gone out and deliberately selected their victims on the basis of their race. Nine kids were ultimately charged. Over the course of the next couple of months it became a national story, with some white supremacy groups picking up on the story. Frustratingly, Charlottesville commonwealth’s attorney Dave Chapman said that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge these kids with hate crimes, despite the confession. Rev. Alvin Edwards led an outpouring of support for the attackers, while saying and doing nothing to aid with the actual victims, which ended up pissing off a lot of folks in the black community.

    In late March, the first kid was convicted, given a 30 day jail sentence, 50 hours of community service, and ordered to pay his victim’s medical costs. Six more of the attackers pleaded guilty in April, and, in June, received sentences ranging from a year’s probation to six months’ house arrest. They didn’t conduct themselves particularly well in court.

    In 2004, Lisa Provence did a follow-up on one of the kids that Edwards and company had so eagerly described as “good kids who did something stupid” (or something to that effect), finding that nobody would ever mistake convicted attacker Vernon Howard for a good kid.

    If it proves that the victims in all of these attacks are non-black and all of the perps are black, it would seem to take the whole thing up a notch in my mind. I also forecast that Alvin Edwards would demonstrate that he’s learned nothing from the last time that we went through this, sticking up for kids who have confessed to some really nasty criminal behavior and doing nothing for the victims.

  18. Just for the record, a few years back I was attacked by a group of “teenaged African American kids wearing white t-shirts” on the corner of 4th and Garrett, right across from “Friendship Court”.

    I don’t see how anyone could think of living at “The Gleason” with roving packs of dangerous subhumans right next door.

    I notice that “Norcross Station” is pretty sparsely populated, and the Mall is becoming an unpleasant place even during the day.

    Perhaps the City will decide that it’s in its best interest to re-allocate/re-zone “Friendship Court” as something more useful to society.

    Is that even possible? Or is there some ordinance preventing it?

    Please note that I am in no way racist. I believe that these scum are the progeny of low-class uneducated worthless parents, and those can come in all colors.

    Also please note that I don’t blame their worthless parents for having themselves been born poor in an unjust economic system. But, that doesn’t mean they weren’t made worthless as a result and it doesn’t mean that their kids are not now subhuman scum who need to be dealt with as such.

  19. In my opinion the solution to prevent these crimes will be a combination of community policeing efforts and presence on the streets. The street presence of beat cops or bike cops may thwart some kids, but intergration into the community could really be an effective way to catch bad seeds and prevent new ones from growing. I wonder if any of the current police force is from/or currently lives near communities where these kids may have come from.

  20. From WINA:

    A UVA doctor driving on Jefferson Park Avenue at around 1 a.m. Saturday said a group of males dressed in white tee shirts threw a rock into his car.

    What was the name of the UVa doctor who was killed years ago on Main Street in not dissimilar circumstances? (It’s somewhere here on an older version of cvillenews.com.)

  21. What about mace? seems a great way of meeting Kill em all halfway. You don’t have to kill anyone, but you can show the thugs you mean business and defend yourself.

  22. I count myself fortunate to have never personally experienced violent crime, nor the threat of such crime in Charlottesville. That said, all three of my children have had such experiences. I have some understanding of the anger that crime victims must have. But, I am truly saddened to hear anybody refer to our neighbors as “subhuman scum”. We’re all God’s childen. We’re all human, with all of the faults that come with being human.

    I did have an upsetting experience this past spring. I was walking to ACAC, right across the street from Friendship Court. I heard a car come up behind me, slowing down. I turned to see the passenger, a young white man, late teens or early twenties, roll down his window, snd stick his head out. He yelled out to me, “watch out for the niggers!” and the car sped off. What was that about? I, a white man in my mid-fifies, was shaken. Why would that guy yell such a thing? In that neighborhood?

    I don’t even know exactly what this incident has to do with the topic at hand, but, somehow, it seems related.

  23. What about mace? seems a great way of meeting Kill em all halfway. You don’t have to kill anyone, but you can show the thugs you mean business and defend yourself.

    If you’re in areas that can be dangerous, mace can be a great thing to have. It’s small and it can stop people fast. But just like with any weapon, you should have a little training. Not knowing how to use the weapon can get you into trouble when you fail to use it effectively. And as I mentioned above, learn to count. If there are a lot of teens, your mace won’t get them all before they get you.

    But even with handy weapons, and even with 30 years of martial arts training (yep, bragging), I’ve learned long ago that the best thing to do is be observant and follow your instinct that says, hmm, something’s wrong there, I think I’ll cross the street. Don’t be embarassed to do that. Don’t be embarasssed to run like hell. Because if there is a fight, someone will get hurt, or worse. And that’s not fun even if it’s not you.

  24. Thanks for the reply. From my perspective this is a problem that crops up every several years. I remember a bunch of attacks like this on the Corner back in 92-93 and then again in the 96-97 time period. I would not be so happy about cameras but can see why some people would want them. I would prefer a temporary increase in cops downtown along with some proactive community outreach.

    The city, I think, has too much at stake economically to have a lot more beatings and muggings downtown. If there is money (and there really should be) I would think this can be dealth with pretty fast.

  25. “Don’t be embarasssed to run like hell. Because if there is a fight, someone will get hurt, or worse.”

    I did that. They chased me like a pack of wolves. Or, should I say, like a pack of “God’s children”?

  26. I did that. They chased me like a pack of wolves. Or, should I say, like a pack of “God’s children”?

    Yea, that can happen too. It’s always a tough call on how to react to a threatening situation. Sometimes doing the dog whisperer thing of calm assertiveness (love that guy), sometimes ignoring or appearing oblivious, and sometimes it’s running. But sometimes nothing will work and things get ugly.

    I hope you made it away from them OK.

    And cod, I agree, the community needs to jump in and do some things since there’s so much at stake. It’s interesting that this sort of thing crops up every few years. Maybe it’s some natural teen violence cycle. Where are the sociologists when you need them.

    Ah punks. Nothing like them. And they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Ain’t it great. Hmmm, maybe they could be used instead of oil to power things. :-)

  27. Reading the article in the Daily P this morning, it doesn’t give me a lot of confidence have the resources or strategy to stop this stuff. The entire article is boiled down to:

    trying to find the guys who did it (which begs the question, how do you prove it?)


    telling people to be careful and stay in wel-lit areas (which didn’t work for the guy on the bridge, or, for that matter, Jamie Dyer).

    Maybe they are doing all they can. Is it possible they don’t have any more resources to throw at this thing?

  28. Maybe we should throw a nuke at Friendship Court!
    But speaking seriously,the first thing that needs to be done is to acknowledge that there is a problem! That we have “gangs” here, nevermind whether are affiliated with national gangs or not.
    Cameras won’t help in attacks that take place where they are not.
    One possibility is to saturate the Downtown area with a heavy police presence throughout the summer months.That might both deter crime and increase the possibility of arrests.
    This sort of thing has been going on for a long time. Back in the 70s, the parents of late judge Harry Michael were brutally assaulted in their home on Wertland St by a gang of thus. I believe arrests were made in that case.
    Someone mentioned armed self-defense, concealed carry. Its not necessary to “kill ’em all”-often mere display of a firearm prevents an attack.
    Better yet, hold them at gunpoint until police arrive. The owner of Club 216 did that with some goons who had been gaybashing outside his club. And thats another thing-this lot of hoodlums are likely gaybashers and rapists as well.
    And if they are arrested,lets hope they don’t get off with a slap on the wrist, as happens too often with violent youthful offenders here.They get off with a suspended sentence as happened some years ago with the guy who slashed a UVa student’s throat when the student caught him rummaging through his car. He later became the notorious “Ghost” burglar, committing dozens of crimes.
    Yet kids who post goofy fantasies on MySpace stay locked up for months.And lets not even get into the issue of pot smokers.
    Its up not just to the police. Its up to the law-abiding citizens to tell our city government we are mad as hell and demand they do something about this problem,get rid of the hoodlum element that seems to think it owns the town.
    Where is Rudy Giulani when we really need him?

  29. Post by Frank:
    “Waldo, if the community policing program of the 1990s was discontinued, now would be the time to bring it back. It sounds like a good, proactive way to address this problem. These teens are clearly lacking civic-minded authority figures.”

    I know for a fact that the Police Department is actively involved in community policing and has been so for quite some time. The police department’s strategic plan is posted on their web page and community policing has been discussed occasionally at City Council meetings. With that said, I do not believe that simply a police department’s policing philosophy/model will prevent a group of thugs from isolated crimes such as these attacks. I do agree with Frank when he states that these teens are clearly lacking civic-minded authority figures…..and I ask……where the hell are their parents????

  30. We have ~4000 kids in the city schools, K to 12. That’s ~300 per grade, or ~600 boys aged 14 to 17. How many of these boys have the potential to punch strangers in the face? Not very many, I’d expect. Moreover, I’d teachers and school administrators have a pretty good idea who is most at risk for this behavior. We need to be proactive with these kids, for them and for us.

    We also need to take the gang situation seriously. I served on a school discipline task force in the Spring of 2006. One of our recommendations to the School Board was to ask City Council to convene a task force to address the gang situation, as this was a city problem that has a huge effect on the learning environment in our schools. I saw in the minutes of a School Board meeting last fall that indicated that this was going to happen, but I don’t know that it has. Certainly there has been no public report, and this morning’s paper reports that we now have a mini-task force forming to look at the gang problem…why full task force to mini-task force?

    When I wrote to the mayor a couple of months ago to follow up on this issue, he wrote back to say that he thought this was mainly about kids not having enough to do. This is the same response Rev. Edwards gave during the 2002 CHS-UVA beating incident. Respectfully to both of these civic leaders: No. I’d bet that more than 300 of our 600 boys 14-17 don’t have enough to do, and the vast majority of them aren’t out beating people up. It’s time for a serious response to problem that’s been around for a long time that addresses the safety of the community and more effective intervention with the specific kids most at risk for violent behavior.

  31. Well, this is the last straw. Next paycheck I’m sending in the $50 for my concealed weapon permit. Until then, open carry is an option depending on where I am walking.

    To those who feel sympathy for these ‘kids’ and don’t want to see them hurt or killed, I am right there with you. Until they are engaged in an act of violence.

    Whether a violent criminal is 15 or 50, they are all human beings. Each of them has, at core, something just as human as the rest of us. This is even true of murderers and rapists. Which makes it all the sadder when we have to use violence to stop one of these people from hurting or killing someone. The fact that a criminal has something potentially redeemable inside of him is a very good case for programs to reform them or steer them towards a better life before things get out of hand. But it is not a good reason to refrain from using force, deadly force if necessary, to stop them from attacking and potentially killing an innocent person. If there is another way to resolve the situation, great. If not, then force remains a last resort.

    A group of 17 year olds can just as easily beat a pedestrian to death as a group of 30 year olds. As far as running away is concerned, it’s great if you can do that. But what are the odds that you will be faster than each one of, say, a dozen teenagers? Or what if you just can’t run very fast at all? Sad as it is, sometimes the use or the threat of force is the only way out in one piece.

    I’d rather see this whole thing sorted out by the police intervening and stopping these acts of violence before they happen. But if that is not happening then we must each take responsibility for our own safety and for that of our neighbors. These attackers work under the safe assumption that they can attack anyone they want with impunity. Following a few scares with armed people who decide not to be victims (hopefully in which the mere threat of force is enough to halt the attack), I would not be surprised if the attackers change their minds about playing Russian roulette.

    Of course, as I have commented here before, I think that the real answer to preventing violent crime downtown is aggressive prosecution. Any cop will tell you that it is largely the same people causing trouble again and again. We should be placing a priority on identifying and either reforming or locking up repeat violent offenders. Police officers cannot be everywhere at once. They can only be effective to the extent that the people they arrest are dealt with in a way that prevents their continuing to engage in criminal behavior. The cops are doing their jobs well. We just need to get the criminal justice side of things stiffened up.

  32. The attacks were horrible and those who committed them should be punished. However, I think this highlights a couple of bigger problems that our community is facing. The first is the question of what’s going wrong in the school system and at home that so many people (mostly black) continue to fall through the cracks and slip into a life of crime. I know this is summer but during the school year I always find myself wondering why is it that the city school system has such a stigma for blacks (and whites) in the county when they have some of the best AP and extracurricular programs in the state? I can remember growing up in the County and my mom vowing that we would never attend city schools. She would always say (and still does for my younger siblings) that she would rather pay a few hundred extra bucks a month to live in a smaller house in the county than pay less or even for anything in the city. We need to start asking why is it that our city schools appear to be working great for white students and not for blacks. Then again, perhaps my perception of this whole thing is off.

    The second issue, which is very related to the first, that we need to address is this underlying racial resentment and tension that is all too obvious in our community. There are so many signs of racial tension in this area from UVA’s racial attacks, to our school systems; from the wealth and income gap, to the obvious residential segregation. That’s all without mentioning all the misunderstandings the black and white community have had with one another over things like the superintendent controversy (though many blacks too wanted her gone) and Dean Turner’s retirement from the University.

    We can hide behind our 80% and 60% Democratic margins that exist in the city and county and pretend like we above this issue but sooner or later we have to start talking about it. We will never see the goal of racial conciliation move much beyond the positive laws passed in the 60s or the new ideals of racial tolerance that we all profess in the public sphere if we don’t start talking about it. I know this is a thread about attacks but the racial undertones just stood out to me.

  33. We need to expect more from parents, especially fathers. Although there are many individual exceptions, in general men play a vital role in socializing adolescent males. Many mothers will not be able to do the job alone.
    Teenagers require family supervision. By all means, increase policing and provide recreational opportunities for young people but don’t expect the problem to be solved.

  34. I work at the Ix building (www.whatisix.com) and live off Rugby Rd. Occasionally I’d walk home from work, especially when the weather was nice. I did just that a few days in a row in mid-May of this year. I’d walk up the hill here at the Ix complex towards Second St SE, past Friendship Court (how has no one yet pointed out the irony of this name?), through the Downtown Mall, and then up Preston Ave to my apartment.

    Not anymore.

    One afternoon I left work around 5:30pm. I was walking on Second St SE, crossing over Monticello Ave while taking to my fiancee on my mobile. I was distracted by the fact that I was talking on the phone, but I still noticed that my relatively brisk rate of speed, coupled with the slow plogging of a group of youngish-looking African-American teenagers (they looked 12 to 15 to these eyes) turning from Monticello Ave onto Second St SE, would put me just in front of them as we all headed in the direction of the Downtown Mall. I’ve walked here several times before. Atomic Burrito for lunch here. A club from Bagby’s there. So I know that the sidewalk pads are uneven in some places so I’m look down to avoid tripping and looking like a damn fool. Something catches my eye: a one-foot twig tumbled up by my right foot. “That’s odd,” I thought. Then a one-inch, roughly roundish piece of asphalt rolls by my left side.

    “OK”, I said to my fiancee, “I’m crossing the street cuz some punks in bandannas and football jerseys are throwing crap at me.” So now I’m in front of the ACAC parking garage entrance, on the other side of the street from the group of kids. Large rocks start pinging off of the cars unlucky enough to be parked across from Friendship Court. “That’s it!” I speak into the phone, “I’m calling the cops.”

    And when I do so, I let the kids know I’m doing it. “I’m calling the cops now!” I yell as I turn to face them and dial 911. “You can stop throwing stuff at me because the police are on their way!”

    The 911 dispatcher asks me if this is an emergency.

    “Not really, I just wanted to call 911 so I could get these kids by Friendship Court to stop throwing rocks at me.”

    “Throwing rocks at you!? Where exactly are you?”

    “10th St SE” I say, clearly flustered, frightened, and wrong.

    “10th St!? You said Friendship Court, right?”

    “Sorry, I mean Second St SE, you know, the road between Friendship Court and ACAC.”

    “OK. Where do you want the officer to meet you?”

    “I don’t want an officer to meet me. I just want these kids to stop throwing rocks at me so I can walk home safely.”

    “Are you sure you don’t want to meet an officer somewhere?”

    “Definitely…I just want to keep walking home. I don’t want to have to wait around here.”

    “OK…I’m sending out the call and the officer will follow up with you afterward. I’ve got your number here on the screen.”

    I assumed that meant the officer was going to take a drive by the place, see what was going on, and then call me for my “statement” and to make sure I was OK.

    I called my fiancee back, told her I was safe, and finished walking home, occasionally looking over my shoulder just to be certain I wasn’t followed. I arrive home rattled but moderately proud of my decision-making ability during the situation. I’m not a small guy, but I’ve also never been in a fight and would probably just lay on the ground and get pummeled if I ever did get jumped.

    Granted, this was before all these attacks started happening and getting pumped through the local media. If it happened now, I would run, straight away.

    Oh, and the officer never called me back to follow up.

  35. If the Charlottesville are unable to protect the population (and by extension, the city’s golden goose) from a bunch of 14-17 thugs in white tee shirts, then God help us if a real criminal element ever moved into the area.

    I am really looking forward to seeing if we can a mugging-free weekend. One more series of random beatings, and I would think the media, followed closely by Downtown merchants, would really be up in arms.

  36. It’s a simple and easy fix. If you find yourself being out late at night in the proximity of “FRIENDSHIP COURT” on a regular basis, get a concealed permit, buy a gun and a holster, and carry it. Then when these “gangsta rappers” approach and threaten you, you can pull out your piece and bust a few caps in their worthless asses. Badda bing, badda boom. Done deal. Go home and sleep well. You’re done your civic duty.

  37. Just like “Kill ‘Em All!”, here we have another comment from somebody who would never be willing to put their name to such a thing. The suggestion that we should all be willing to kill a teenager if they threaten us and, afterwards, feel no hint of remorse, is absolutely ludicrous, and shows a complete divorce from reality. Both of these people know that, which is why they’re too chickenshit to use their real names.

    FWIW, both of these loons are posting from IP addresses far from Charlottesville, one in Lynchburg and one in Hampton Roads. In both cases, these appear to be their first comments to cvillenews.com.

  38. By the way, what is the story with Elk’s club? Seems like there’s always stuff going on there of ill repute. I thought the Elks were like the Masons or the Rotary Club, but they seem a bit rougher.

  39. I’ve often wondered the same thing, cod. When I lived downtown, on North First, I would often walk home late at night past the Elk’s Club, and I often would have to cross the street to avoid the scuffles and general sketchy behavior spilling out of the Elk’s Club and into the street.

  40. Maybe the Elk’s Club occasionally rents out their space for parties, much like some UVA fraternities?

  41. Good point Cod. Pretty sad when a police force can’t find or track down a little makeshift gang of 14 year olds. Pretty pathetic. Has Chief Longo et al ever heard of UNDERCOVER work? Gather up some cops, dress them in plain clothes, put them out in the neighborhoods where these attacks are at about 11pm to 2am. See if the roving pack tries to attack them. I guarantee you if they did that a few nights you’d nab someone. Oh wait-I forgot-then folks would start HOWLING and SCREECHING that this was entrapment. And then prosecute them. Toss them into juvenile detention for a few days-and NOT release them to mommy.

    I think it’s time the cops got a little creative instead of talking about talking to their mommies. And the media should be all over this every day after every attack. TV, papers, radio. And of course, we should be hearing something from the city council. A press release, a radio talk show, a TV appearance by the mayor. To tell us what THEY are doing to stop this violence. Or not. See when you ignore a problem, then presto it goes away!

  42. Jan’s comments are well within the realm of reasonable discourse. Your suggestion that we should all feel entirely remorseless after killing a young teenager after s/he utters a threat on a public street is distant from reality that you are either a) insane or b) too caught up in your tough guy schtick to confess that there is at best an enormous morass encompassing such an act.

  43. Who said anything about being a tough “guy”? Maybe I like my SMITH AND WESSON 36 LADY SMITH REVOLVER.

    BTW – Why don’t you ask Reginald Denny how he feels about kids trowing rocks at him?

  44. I’m not advocating shooting kids. I WISH the cops would get a little pro active and get these kids OFF the street before a citizen does pull out a gun and shoot them (which is well within their right to protect themselves). Because the next thing you will see is the “kids” graduating up to knives and guns themselves. Just won’t be punching somebody out.
    And then you’ve got a full blown crisis on your hands. But Longo et al will be standing around, wringing their hands wishing they could just do something. Oh my.

    I think this wouldn’t be a good blog if everyone agreed with everyone else. Waldo hasn’t hassled me. Hey, at least I speak my mind and use my REAL name. And he hasn’t cut me off yet…..knock on wood.

  45. I WISH the cops would get a little pro active and get these kids OFF the street before a citizen does pull out a gun and shoot them (which is well within their right to protect themselves). Because the next thing you will see is the “kids” graduating up to knives and guns themselves. Just won’t be punching somebody out.

    These are both very real, very important concerns. I’m not sure that these kids realize that they only have to go after one person who’s carrying to end up dead. And, every time that they attack somebody who doesn’t shoot ’em, they learn that they can get away with more and more, which may well result in graduating to knives and guns. Both of those make it all the more urgent to bring this to a stop.

    Waldo hasn’t hassled me. Hey, at least I speak my mind and use my REAL name. And he hasn’t cut me off yet…..knock on wood.

    Ain’t no way that’ll happen, Jan. :) I’ve had to kick off something like two people, ever, and nobody was surprised to see them go.

  46. Waldo and others bring up a point about racial tensions. But I think that is not a complete picture.
    The fact is, there is a lot of black-on-black crime, doubtless more than there is white-on-black crime. Weren’t both those kids so brutally beaten up awhile go because they didnt want to join the “Bloods” black?
    There is an element that will prey on anyone else whom they happen to come across, or decide they don’t lke. They are psychopaths who have no respect for themselves or anyone else, who may know the difference between right and wrong and simply do not care.
    And yes, one of the ugly truths of our society is that black on black crime has historically not been taken seriously.

  47. Sorry, I meant to say “black on white crime” in the previous post.
    I don’t see an edit button here, don’t know if someone could go and edit my last post or no.

  48. “And yes, one of the ugly truths of our society is that black on [white] crime has historically not been taken seriously.”

    Are you serious? The chances of a black person getting the death penalty is already higher than any other group. When blacks are accused of killing a white victim that likelihood goes up even further. Accused blacks are more likely to go to prison than whites and typically serve longer sentences. I think saying “black on white” crime isn’t taken seriously is a misstatement. People complain about hate crime laws giving stiffer penalties based on the victims race or other factors but what they fail to realize is that the justice system already does this when the victim is white.

  49. But now we have a task force. It’s all gonna be fine now.
    Good grief. Wonder how many more assaults there will be while they’re task forcing?

    Hate to say it but maye they should close down the rec center for at least one night and see what happens (or doesn’t happen).
    Nah, that’d make too much sense.

  50. WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON IN THE CITY!?! Cant these city cops keep things under control!?!

    If you believed the paper, Chip Harding and Longo, the city is going crime crazy!

    Get real, it sucks but you are always going to have teenage kids causing problems, starting fights, whatnot. Instead of busting these particular hooligans, Harding and team are more interested in setting up stupid task forces and getting their names in the paper.

    You might even begin to suspect that someone was running for office or something . . .

  51. Excellent point Jon and Jan. There are always community-wide things to look at and improve, but first and foremost the crime at hand needs to be dealt with. And perhaps it’s really not that big of a community problem after all, and just a few kids that can be handled. Anyway, a little police help here please. After that, task force to your hearts content.

    As for our cowboys commenting about shooting and such, I assume they’re just trying to provoke for the fun of it. Hopefully.

  52. Sorry, I was not clear which sentence my correction was in. It was the second sentence where I was alluding to the fact that there was more black on black crime than black on white crime.
    But you are right, thats been a large part of the problem, crimes committed by blacks against whites have been taken more seriously than by blacks and against blacks.As for whites against blacks: two words: Emmett Till.

  53. The more I think about it the more disgusted I get at the police’s grandstanding on this issue. They in affect are making it a race issue (inadvertently or not) . . . to what end are they doing this, politics, publicity??? A task force for some rowdy puck ass teenagers!? Give me a break.

    Is the Cville police department so impotent that they can not handle a bunch of teenagers starting fights!? I am starting to not feel safe.

    The responsible thing for the Charlottesville police department to do is along the lines of what Waldo suggested combined with what another poster suggested: community policing and good undercover work. If it is such an epidemic of activity it should be easy for some undercover officers to catch these kids. I think Robb Seal at the Daily Progress needs to start asking some hard questions.

    Also it is absolutely irresponsible for the Charlottesville Police Department to inflame the community. To make us feel like there is a crime wave perpetuated by black teenagers, ugh.

  54. I never looked at this as a “racial” thing. Just young thugs beating up people. And it IS the police dept. that appears to be making it racial. Everyone remember the DNA dragnet a few years ago?
    And unfortunately there isn’t much investigative reporting going on these days.

  55. People sometimes get killed by teenaged muggers. Getting beat up is NOT good for anybody.

    Self defense may well be the only way to save one’s life once an attack is imminent. To dismiss as “cowboys” those who would protect themselves or loved ones from senseless hospitalization or death is naive.

    Law enforcement would do well to be proactive in preventing additional attacks and likely backlash when one of the risk-seeking attackers meets the ultimate consequences of his choices. That’s what they get paid for. If they are too busy surfing myspace for imagined thought-crime to actually fight crime, they should be replaced.

    When good people cannot safely walk their communities, the bad will snowball to the worse. Kiss downtown commerce goodbye for years if this continues. Expect it to become worse if attacks continue with impunity. Don’t we pay taxes with the expectation that SOMETHING will be done about such as this?

  56. i used to park along garrett st. when i worked downtown. used to see all kinds of crap going on around “friendship court”. cars along garrett w/ slashed tires, rocks thrown at cars (including mine as i was driving up 2nd st. one day), other acts of vandalism, etc. once i came out to my car and found a group of kids having a rock and bottle fight between one of the apartments’ back yards and the street. fortunately, i was parked far enough away to avoid the fallout, but several cars looked like they’d taken direct hits. i also found a resident sitting on my hood one afternoon. not leaning, mind you, but full-ass sitting on my hood. left a nice dent.

    not that i needed an excuse to avoid downtown, but the latest round of attacks, coupled with the CPD’s ineptitude will be more than enough to keep me away at least in the short term.

  57. Family Guy, I was trying to be dismissive of the cowboys not because they were advocating protecting themselves, but they were advocating what seemed like killing for fun. As in Nuke an entire neighborhood, etc. I don’t think nuking a neighborhood is what you have in mind, is it?

    Of course we all have a right to protect ourselves. The laws can be tricky when it comes to self defense. But I’d rather be in some legal hassle about it than dead.

    Having said that, this sure seems like a simple police matter. We’ve got a half dozen punk teens paralyzing a city. Sad and pathetic if you ask me. Do the C’ville police pee themselves when they see a 14 year old with a rock. Starting to sound like it if they think they need some blown out of proportion task group to analyze it. I mean, it’s a half dozen 14 year olds. Please.

    If I sound harsh to the police, sorry. It just seems a little ridiculous. Of course many parts of downtown are fine, but it a bit frustrating to have to worry and avoid parts that should be perfectly safe. And frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing to see the police not be able to handle this. I know, the businesses should get together and escort the police around, holding their hands so they feel safe. OK, maybe I went a bit far on that one…

  58. I don’t think, Waldo, you should be surprised at the racial elements of this story. Connect it to the mortgage discrimination story and see what you get. We’re so busy trying to pretend that profound racial discimination (‘it’s not a racial divide: it’s an economic one…’) that our see-no-evil attitude keeps getting in the way of our ability to identify & eliminate actual, ongoing racial inequalities. Does systemic racism give anyone the ‘right’ to beat other people up? Of course not. But we don’t seem to be paying attention to the core problems, do we?

  59. “We’ve got a half dozen punk teens paralyzing a city.” I’d say that is a little exaggerated. I’m going to avoid the south side of the mall after dark, but that is hardly paralyzing a city. I’m still working, shopping, eating downtown. I walk to ACAC just about every day, and during the day feel safe. You won’t find me taking an evening stroll down water or garret street however.

  60. Last night, July 11th I was walking back from the corner, perhaps around 12:30, walking down main st past Northern Exposure when I saw a group of kids all wearing white in a group of about 5 – 7 on the other side, slightly across from the bank. Being that I knew of these previous troubles I kept an eye on them, as we got a little closer, I was next to the art store then, they basically started b-lining towards me on an intercept path. I turned down and started heading towards the hospital and they started following me. I called the cops then because I really didn’t feel like dealing with them.

    nothing happened but I would have felt safer if the cops could figure out where I was. I told them the street parallel to 9th/10th street connector heading away from main street towards the hospital but I was unimpressed. Either way, I wish I had a good camera and wasn’t going on vacation today otherwise I might have just kept walking towards the corner to see what happened and get a picture of these thugs.

    I don’t like it, if the cops don’t do something, people are going to star arming themselves. I know I am.

  61. JoeKiller,

    For future reference, you were on 11th Street (the road between Studio Art and the bank). Good work avoiding trouble last night.

    I saw two kids downtown last night wearing white t-shirts and what appeared to be red bandannas hanging under their tees, perhaps tied to their belts or belt loops. I can’t imagine their outfits were anything other than a gang uniform.

    Until we get some affirming word from the CPD regarding this situation, let’s continue to use this space to keep ourselves informed and hopefully safe. Is that OK, Waldo?

  62. Until we get some affirming word from the CPD regarding this situation, let’s continue to use this space to keep ourselves informed and hopefully safe. Is that OK, Waldo?

    You bet. I should probably provide a new story about this, with a roundup of the latest information. Otherwise this will slide off the front page before long.

  63. I saw two kids downtown last night wearing white t-shirts and what appeared to be red bandannas hanging under their tees, perhaps tied to their belts or belt loops. I can’t imagine their outfits were anything other than a gang uniform.

    The Red bandannas are what makes it a uniform- wherever it is they have them. And it is of course the signatory color of the national bloods gang.

    I don’t normally go to the downtown mall but on at least two occasions when I’ve had business down there in the late afternoon I’ve received 2nd looks from individuals (never groups) wearing the clichéd gangsta uniform. Fortunately that was all that it was. This was before all the dust ups around Garret Square (I refuse to call it Friendship Court) and before all the news coverage. But it made me take note and wonder if he was going to be an immediate problem for me. I’ve lived in large cities before so this isn’t a new experience, but it is one I never thought I would have in Cville.

    All of this coverage has made me wonder how I would handle similar situations, and I honestly must say I don’t know. I don’t go looking for trouble and consciously avoid putting myself in the position where I might become a victim. But I have decided (in part because of what I’ve read here, and the unlikeliness that any of the individuals would ever be caught or prosecuted) if I were going to get a beating (or worse) I fully intend to take at least one of them with me.

  64. It is because their ancestors were slaves and they feel the rage against white people, they are just misunderstood. I will gladly take a beating from them to make up for the beatings their ancestors took, then an only then can I become at peace with the sins of my ancestors. All white people should all be proud to take a beating from a group of angry african-americans or whatever they call themselves now. They are oppressed and denied the opportunities for a quality education and good jobs in this racist society. There isn’t even a decent place to park their Lexi and Cadillacs in Friendship Court after dark, and some of them even pay up to $30 dollars a month to live there, the place hasn’t been re-carpeted in two years!!!. The A/C is too cold in the summer, and cable tv is not included with the rent. The bus stop is 50 yards away, and sometimes they serve cold pizza for free lunch at school…. What a shitty country.

  65. I must respectfully say that the chris’s comment is not especially helpful.

    One thing we need to keep in mind is that other cities have had this problem. New Orleans with the area around Rampart Street in the French Quarter, Cicago with Cabrini Green and the area around the White Sox baseball stadium, New York with the East Village and Alphabet City, and there are many other examples. All of these cities have made a lot of progress. Hopefully we can solve the problems as New York and New Orleans did, without simply razing the projects and moving the residents. Regadless, if we can’t solve this (and fast), Longo isn’t as good as we think he is. This is literally a group of 50 children at most, and more likely a group. of about 20.

    That said, I think this is a big weekend. If there are more assults, I am guessing at least some people are going to go “vigilante” in terms of their personal protection. I am even more confident that others are going to say to hell with going downtown.

  66. One thing I’ve noticed recently downtown is an increase in the quantity of stinky train people. Maybe we could organize a fight between the white t shirt gang and train riders, and let them elminate each other.

  67. The cops call the white t-shirts and jeans the thugs wear the “uniform of the day”. They all do it so they can confuse witnesses and the police. Friendship Court has to go or downtown will never be safe.

  68. Friendship Court has to go or downtown will never be safe.

    Ultimately, it’s the cycle of poverty and ignorance that have to go if we ever want to be safe.

  69. cod – “personal protection” is NOT vigilante. Personal protection is a humnan right. Vigilantes go out and seek wrongdoers and deal with them, typically in response to a real or perceived inability of law enforcement to do so.

    I seek nothing but the ability to safely walk the streets and go about my business. If I am attacked I will defend myself by whatever means is appropriate and necessary. That is my right. That does not make me a “vigilante”.

    If you are being mobbed my a group or 10 teenagers, I think you’re possibly in a “disparity of force” situation where the sheer fact of their numbers makes the group, collectively, a deadly weapon.

  70. Read below. Notice how the younger brother already was associated with a horrid beating and then gets shipped to a mental health facility. The writing is on the wall.

    According to police, the shooting occurred after 18-year-old Pee Wee Carmello Martinez argued with other teens at the Downtown Recreation Center. The argument moved to Blue Ridge Commons, where Martinez and his 17-year-old younger brother, Indio Martinez, wielded a handgun and an AK-47. The AK-47 was allegedly handed to 19-year-old Javier Garcia, who was ordered to shoot. A bystander was injured in the spray of bullets. The suspects reportedly fled the scene in a green SUV.

    Indio Martinez was arrested first, in Charlottesville. Martinez has a record locally: He was one of the teens indicted in an April 2006 gang beating near the Downtown Mall that caused the victim to need reconstructive facial surgery. On June 6, Judge Edward L. Hogshire denied him bond and ordered him to be transferred to a mental health facility.

    The elder Martinez was picked up in March in Bronx, New York, allegedly fleeing the cops. The Martinez family moved from New York to Charlottesville a few years ago, according to police, seemingly bringing their ties to the Bloods with them.

    Garcia was picked up in the Bronx last month, though he has not been extradited to Virginia. Calls to the New York City Police Department and Bronx District Attorney’s office were not returned.

    Though Martinez and Garcia came from an area with a lot of gang activity, local police have been hesitant to label the teens as “Bloods.”

    Charlottesville Police Captain J.E. “Chip” Harding says, “We just don’t have enough information yet. We’re not labeling him as a gang member just yet.”

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