A horrifying attack on a drunken tourist in Baltimore—harassed, punched, beaten, stripped, and robbed—was videotaped, and went viral. The perpetrators were identified and arrested. But, with videotaped evidence of beating and robbery in hand, prosecutors agreed to plea bargains that gave at least three of the four criminals a slap on the wrist: one year for Aaron Jacob Parsons, who pickpocketed and punched the victim; "time served," about three months, for DeAngelo Carter and Shayona Mikia Davis, the latter of whom bashed the prone victim with a high-heeled shoe and then stripped him. Shatia Baldwin will be sentenced in December.
According to his attorney, Parsons "offered an apology to both the victim and the city, interestingly because he knows he brought disrepute to the city, considering this went viral and cast a negative image of the city." [CBS Baltimore; Baltimore Sun]
This apology is ironic. Plea bargains with dramatically reduced charges and punishments are what prosecutors agree to when they are afraid to take a case to trial. If this is the best Baltimore prosecutors can do when guilt is indisputable, how safe are Baltimore tourists when the thugs aren't videotaping their thuggery? I was plenty disgusted that such open lawlessness could take place outside a courthouse. I'm even more so now that I know that it's also all but tolerated by the local authorities (not to mention the local citizenry), and the people who did it will all be back on the streets in April. The disrepute has increased, rather than decreased.
This is before we get to the double-standard in application of hate-crime laws (even with the possible additional evidence of tweets indicating a racial motive), but we've sadly come to expect such disparate application of the law.