Update at the end of the post. The alleged attackers tell their side of the story. A police statement appears to refute their account.
Two knockout-style attackers in Charlottesville were immediately released on their own recognizance and charged with a misdemeanor after an assault on a man and woman in a downtown shopping mall on December 20.
Police Chief Longo, who arrested the assailants, said there is evidence of the male victim losing a tooth and suffering soft tissue damage but he would need evidence of more serious injuries to raise the charges. The injuries were far more serious than that according to the victims.
In the meantime, these two assailants didn’t have to post bail.
The police department never used the female victim’s photos snapped during the attack to help identify the attackers and didn’t assign the case to a detective until ten days after the attack.
Richard Bernard Spears, left, and Malcolm James Stevenson, the alleged assailants in the mall attack
One assailant punched the woman in the head and the two kicked and beat her companion after he fell and while he tried to get up, according to the victims. The male victim lay on the ground during part of the assault which continued after Adams repeatedly tried to escape up the mall.
During the attack, the assailants, Richard Bernard Spears and Malcolm James Stevenson, allegedly hugged each other and laughed. Another man and a woman who were with them did not take part in the attack and the woman continually screamed for them to stop; after the arrest, they helped the police. This is according to the account given by the victims.
Marc Adams and Jeanne Doucette were walking through the mall at 1:30 am when Adams tripped and fell. While he was trying to get up, a man charged up to him and he and another man started beating and kicking him, according to the victims.
Doucette went up to one attacker and she recalled what happened next, “I came up and pushed him away and said, ‘What are you doing?’”
One of the attackers then repeatedly punched her in the ear, her earring stabbing her over and over.
The men then continued with their assault on Adams which only stopped as two people called 911 and Doucette started to take pictures with her camera.
The attackers broke Adam’s ankle, cracked his ribs, and knocked out one of his teeth. He also reportedly suffered a concussion. He was temporarily knocked unconscious. The female victim suffered bruising to her head and tearing of the cartilage in her ear after she too was punched. These injuries have not been confirmed by the police.
Doucette said she threw her bag at one of the assailants at one point but they were not interested in her money, only the brutality which they delighted in.
On January 8th, Malcolm James Stevenson, 25, and Richard Bernard Spears, 23, surrendered, according to Police Chief Tim Longo. They were freed the same day.
The assailants, their two companions and witnesses all confirmed the event as described by the victims: Adams tripped and fell and the soon-to-be attackers began to mock and laugh at him. After Adams asked the men what they’d said, “Malcolm Stevenson lifted him up and threw him to the ground.” According to Longo, it was Spears who allegedly punched Doucette in the head.
There is no evidence that the assault was racially motivated, said Longo. The victims are white and the assailants are black but it is the black assailants who are claiming racial bias according to The Charlottesville DTM, a news and media publication.
Chief Longo is on it now though and in the future they will have multiple captains and the investigations commander to review every new report placed in the system daily “to make sure it was assigned properly.”
He addressed concerns that the department acted slowly. That delay did two things, he said. “One, it created the perception that the department didn’t take the matter seriously, and two, it gave the impression that nothing was being done,” Longo said.
Photos taken by Jeanne Doucette:
Full story at the Charlottesville Weekly.
Update: 01/09/14: An online publication, The Charlottesville DTM*, quoted the attackers as saying it was a case of bias against them, although the police chief said there was no evidence of racial bias in the attack.
The author of the article in the Charlottesville DTM hinted that the victims as racial bigots gay bashers (no evidence of that) who deliberately misstated the facts.
The author at The Charlottesville DTM described a verbal confrontation that escalated into a physical fight. The attackers said it was not a knockout-style attack and they claim the victim started it with a racial slur. They also claim they were originally trying to help the victim get up. They said he was falling-down drunk and they admit to laughing at him once but not as Adams and Doucette described.
They claim they didn’t hurt Adams though he was hurt. The attacker who hit Doucette admitted he pushed her away and hit her in the head.
They said they are not thugs.
However, another witness said Stevenson lifted Adams up and threw him to the ground. Police say Spears admitted to punching Doucette.
Adam’s injuries are significant and are as described originally.
Chief Longo said it was a confrontation. He didn’t explain why it took him 10 days to look for the alleged attackers but admitted there was a breakdown which they have addressed.
Longo said at one point, it was suspected that three people were responsible for the attack, but based on their investigation, only Spears and Stevenson were involved.
Police are asking for other witnesses to come forward.
Spears and Simpson turned themselves into police and said they have no police record.
After both men were charged, they were released on a permitted warrant. Their first court appearance is scheduled for February 5 at 9 a.m.
More at NBC 29
*The Charlottesville DTM, whose author wrote the article favoring the attackers, is an online publication that describes itself as a news and media organization inspired by the mall; that is the mall where the event occurred (PR outfit?).
Comments from The Charlottesville DTM:
Did you see the pictures from her phone? I have them. I will be happy to share. I spoke with Marc on Christmas. I know about his injuries. Did you listen to the victim accounts? I did.
The injuries were extensive… enough so that Marc was confused and thought he should “go home”. Have you ever been beaten to confusion? All you want is to be safe. Home is safe. It is logical, basic psychology. The same thing happens to beaten kids and battered women.
My point is… Marc is not mouthy. And EVEN if he felt the need to talk back… the beating that they both endured by the bullies was over the line, brutal and vicious.
I’ve known Marc for 13 yrs and can tell you he is not a gay basher or hater. And I’ve gone thru an episode of concussion and head injury when I should have gone to the Dr. But in not being able to logically assess my situation and condition, all I could think of was getting home.
No matter the words, nothing justifies the attack.
You may not know Marc or Jeanne, but I know you know some of their friends, and this blame the victim thing you are doing is despicable, especially the idea that either Jeanne or Marc are gay bashers. Also, the police chief already has the medical report which shows a broken rib and fractured ankle, yet you and he continue to downplay the injuries. You also are now only reporting on the perpetrators account of the incident. What about the part that they laughed and high-five each other while beating them up? What about the part that they didn’t stop until Marc was knocked out? You also leave out the part that Jeanne offered to give the cellphone pictures to the officer on the scene, but he did not want to take them, so to say that she waited until Dec 29th to offer more information is a half lie, she was more then willing to give them all the information on the spot, but they refused. Convenient how it becomes a completely different story when you leave out the victims side of it. It seems to me that you think this kind of violence is acceptable or tolerable, or if you are too freaked out by the incident and just want to go home that you must be guilty and have started it.
Jeanne talked to police that night, and Marc went in to talk to them the next day. Marc also went to the hospital and the police have the full medical report. Tooth knocked out, bruises all over his body, broken ribs and fractured ankle. A week later Jeanne talked to the police again and still had done nothing, that is when they went to the media. So you are saying if you press the police into doing something by going to the media, you have something to hide?
Amazing! People who commit a crime would never lie about it would they? Tell me, who has more to gain here telling their side of the story? It would seem to me that Marc and Jeanne have nothing at all to gain, do they? What would be their motivation for lying? Now what about the perpetrators of this crime, what reason would they have to lie? To keep their freedom maybe? David, it is no wonder your paper failed, you have no idea how to be a journalist. You say they willingly turned themselves into the police, but fail to mention that they did so only after a few weeks of being fugitives. Then you pretend like Marc and Jeanne never talked to the police, yet the facts are that Jeanne talked to them that night, and Marc went in the very next day. You are the biggest lying scumbag on the planet David. Can you please describe in detail how you can get bruises all over you body, a broken rib, fractured ankle, and knocked unconscious from one punch from a third party?
Whether it was a knockout-style attack or not, only the attackers can really say and they are saying it wasn’t.