When two gay men were approached and savagely beaten by a well-heeled group of white men and women in Philadelphia, police appealed for the public’s support in identifying the attackers…and Twitter solved the crime.
According the police statement:
On September 11, 2014, at 10:45 pm, the complainant, a 28 year-old male, along with a friend, a 27 year-old male, were on the 1600 block of Chancellor Street when they were approached by a group of unknown white males and females. As the group approached the complainants they made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. The group then attacked the complainants holding them while other members of the group punched them in the face, head and chest.
The beating was so savage that one of the victims was left with fractures and deep lacerations to his face which required surgery and his jaw wiring shut.
The group also stole a bag from one of the victims as they fled the scene.
Police released this video of the group yesterday, and requested the public help them identify the attackers…and here’s where the story gets a little bit awesome.
Twitter user Greg Bennett shared a picture of what appeared to be the same group at a restaurant, appealing for Twitter users to find out where the photo was taken.
At this point FanSince09 retweeted the photo, and almost immediately received a flood of responses from people telling him the restaurant was La Viola, an Italian eatery in Center City. He tweeted that he was then able to ID most of the people in the photo because they’d checked in to the restaurant on Facebook!
So he called the cops with the information, prompting local law enforcement officer Joe Murray to thank Twitter users publicly for their pivotal role in the the identification.
According to Gawker:
Meanwhile, reporter Kenneth Moton at ABC 6 said at 11 p.m. that the news station had learned that some of the suspects — we don’t know how many — have already retained lawyers, who were calling the police to make “arrangements,” which sounds like a plan to surrender voluntarily, before warrants are issued for their arrest.
Now i’ts up to the justice system to do its work.
Bottom line: to see people using Twitter to support two gay men who suffered an appalling and brutal attack is certainly a shot in the arm for our faith in humanity.