Thursday, June 4, 2009

Was it right for the Mob to Beat the Alleged Child Rapist?

Today, "Charlamagne Tha God" (morning host for 100.3 The Beat, Philadelphia) and I discussed the case in which Jose Carrasquillo, a man wanted for raping an 11-year old girl, was caught and beaten into critical condition by a mob of people from a Philadelphia neighborhood. The mob held the alleged perpetrator until police arrived and the Philadelphia police department is now compiling evidence to show that Carrasquillo was indeed the man they were looking for.

When is vigilante justice acceptable and when has it gone over the line? Did the mob do the right thing or should they be prosecuted for their behavior?

"While mob violence is never inherently preferable to formal justice, black women have never been the beneficiaries of government protection," says Dr. Marc Lamont Hill of Columbia University, who was born and raised in Philadelphia. "Although the police were clearly on the case, the community nonethless had a reasonable fear that justice would not prevail without a slight push and kick."

Cooperating with police is critical if we are to get crimes solved in our neighborhoods, and standing up for our children is the best way to ensure that our kids remain safe. As much as we don't want to support the idea of mob justice, the truth is that there is a difference between legality and morality, especially when faced with daunting levels of crime in many black and brown neighborhoods across America. My father always said that he would gladly go to prison to save his children and I don't think that made him a bad father.

"It's a shame that it had to come to the community taking justice in their own hands, but what do you do when you are ignored and made second class?" said hip hop artist and community activist Vigalantee, who has seen his own Kansas City, KS community devastated by gun violence.

Click to read on AOL Black Voices

No comments: