Update: I changed the post title because Mayor Sam Jones has finally reacted. A new report from the Press-Register also paints a different and less innocent portrait of Matthew Owens than previously; it appears he's had past confrontations with some of the local blacks, which included the use of racial slurs. Comments to this story indicate much of the public isn't buying it, though.
|Screenshot of Matthew Owens|
According to WALA Channel 10, police are saying that they have no confirmation that any of the attackers shouted out "Now that's justice for Trayvon Martin", or words to that effect during the assault. Police Chief Micheal T. Williams says that investigators have interviewed the sister, Ashley Parker, and the victim, and that neither mentioned attackers saying anything about "justice for Trayvon". However, it was Ashley Parker, present at the scene, who originally said that the attackers said it was "justice" for Trayvon Martin, and I would think she would know what she is talking about, so this impresses me as a possible attempt by Mobile Police to minimize the gravity of the situation. A second witness also reports hearing a "justice for Trayvon" remark as well.
Mobile Police also state that their preliminary investigation shows the incident stems from an ongoing dispute between Matthew Owens and a suspect yet to be named. An April 23rd story from WPMI Channel 15 sheds more light. Relatives of Owens, who live on the street, say local kids often block Delmar Drive when they play basketball, which leads to some confrontations. Racial comments from both sides may have made the confrontations more toxic. This does not excuse the behavior by the attackers, but it shows it was more that spontaneous combustion. Matthew Owens is still in hospital in critical condition. American Spectator says the black mayor, Sam Jones, had remained silent about the attack, but since this post was published, Jones has now cautioned the public not to jump to conclusions and to wait until the investigation had revealed the facts, saying that he would not condone assault regardless of the motive.
WPMI also provides another account of the attack itself by a witness who was present. The unidentified witness says that when he heard Owens at the door, he thought it was a joke. "Then I saw about 10 to 15 people from little kids and women with dresses to adult men, just flooding onto the property, surrounding the car, hollering and screaming," he says. "And then I heard Matthew saying, ' I'm sorry, man, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.' And then, the next thing, before I could get to the door, because we have it all deadbolted and everything, and before I could get it open, I heard all the beating and banging." Updated WKRG news video embedded below:
The number of attackers is still in dispute, with estimates ranging from 15 to 30. Such situations can be fluid, with people drifting in and out. Most likely there was a maximum of 30 people present during the height of the confrontation, but only 15 of them were actively participating in the attack. A new story from the Press-Register indicates that Matthew Owens has been arrested several times and has been involved in three violent confrontations since 2009. The neighborhood has changed from all-white to half-black over the years, but most whites in the neighborhood report good relations with the black residents.
A petition campaign on Change.org is still in progress. The petitioners protest the sketchy media coverage, and demand it be investigated as a hate crime.
Media Reaction: After a slow start, local Mobile media outlets have risen to the occasion and are now actively covering the story, to include the racial aspect. National media outlets continue to ignore the story for the most part, although the Daily Mail has picked it up in the U.K. Drudge posts a link to one of the stories on his main page.
The secondary media has stepped up to the plate to fill the gap (after the jump):
-- Gateway Pundit: "Where’s the Media?… AL Man Clings to Life After Vicious Beating By 'Trayvon' Sympathetic Mob (Video) …Update: Children & Women in Dresses Joined In", April 23rd.
-- American Spectator: "Sharpton, Jesse J., Mr. Holder: I'm Calling You Out", April 24th. The author is a resident of Mobile and wonders why Mayor Sam Jones has remained silent (clicking on the link to his name might give you a hint; the police chief is also black).
-- Occidental Dissent, “War Against White People” : “Now That’s Justice For Trayvon”, April 24th. Hunter Wallace refers to it as a vicious Black Undertow lynch mob attack.
-- Free Republic, "Mobile Police on mob attack: no corroboration yet on allegation of racial motive", April 24th
-- Stormfront, "‘Justice for Trayvon’: Alabama Man in Critical Condition After Mob Beating", discussion thread begun April 24th.