Monday, 7 May 2012

Attack On Brambleton and Church Street

Shalom:


A few weeks ago, one Tuesday morning, I was reading an op-ed piece in the Virginian- Pilot. The story caught my eye because it about an attack on a couple leaving the Attucks Theatre on 14th April, about 11:00 pm.
Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami, reporters for the Pilot, had stopped a red light at  Brambleton and Church Street.


A rock was thrown as a large group passed by the car. When Dave Forster got out the car to confront the thrower, the couple, white, were attacked by the group. Attacked as in beaten to the point they had to take a week off of work to heal.
The police say there were few involved in the attack. Other reports say it was between 30 and 50 men.
My problem besides a couple being assaulted at a red light by five men, while a larger group gathers around and watches, is that the police seem to think it was a "simple assault."
And the Virginian- Pilot, our local paper didn't see the need to run the story. Their reporters were beaten about four or five blocks from where they work.
A teenager was arrested a few days ago. And our city officials seen to think it isn't that serious.
Really?
Well, I for one am rather upset.
Why did it take two weeks for the story to come out?
Why did it take Bill O'Reilly and my fellow Pilot readers' outcry for the Editor to finally say something? And he as well as the police still stay by it was an "simple assault", not that serious. This really wasn't worth even a line in the newspaper.
Really? In the past week, the two reporters have had to leave Norfolk because there are reports of threats to their lives. But its no big deal.
Well, I have a shilling in this pound.
Having lived in Norfolk for most of my adult life, I know that area well. I'd gone to the grocery store in the area, I'd gone to do business at the centre Post Office on the corner of Brambleton. And I as a single woman would rarely be found on those streets at night alone.
For Mark and I at least twice a week drive by the Attucks theatre, several times down Brambleton and Church. After learning about the attacks, we have changed our  travel routes.
Can you imagine what would have happen if it had been Mark and I, instead of two reporter going home from a night out? How often we drive Church Street coming home from visiting my mother.
If this crowd had a problem with two white reporters, can you imagine their response to a white man with his mocha-coloured bride?  
Last night, watching the O'Reilly Factor, listening to the accounts of  eye witnesses to the beating of the couple. How the woman's hair was pulled. How the man was punched over and over again while people laughed.
And the Pilot continues to stand by "we aren't trying to hide the story."
Mr. Forster and Ms. Rostami have filed complaints against the police because of the way they case is being handle. The police say they get calls about group fights all the time...
This wasn't a group fight; this was a beating.
But to be honest, my biggest problem isn't the police or the newspaper, but the fact that a young couple out for an evening was attacked by a group of pukes with nothing better to do. If they kids, what were they doing out that late at night and where were they parents? Why didn't someone step in and help them instead of watching and cheering the beating on? Why did someone feel the need to throw a rock?
Why couldn't Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami just be left alone?
Because across the street is Young's Park. Public Housing. And large groups of teens go out on the weekend and look for trouble.
And how do I know? Because one rare night, about twenty years, I had such an encounter.
I was the fill for  third shift at a Nursing home and had to wait for my connecting bus to head for work.
I didn't make it.
 It was 10:30pm. I started feeling small rocks being thrown at me. I went into First Stop store and called the police. The police showed up, took a report and then drove me home. I knew the chances the person throwing the rocks were between slim and none. More than likely a kid who's folks didn't know where he or she was. I had to call my Supervisor and tell her what happen. After that, I stopped taking assignments that required me travailing at night.
Yes, Virginian-Pilot, you hid the story. You did a disservice to the people of Norfolk who had the right to know about the thugs that walk the streets unchecked and the callousness attitude of our police department. That we have parents who allow their babies to act ugly.
But your biggest disservice, your crime, is against two of your employees. Your failing to come to their aid by running this crime story.
That you fail in your job. As reporters of Virginian News.
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