The date Sept. 11 is synonymous with the cowardly attacks on American soil 14 years ago. But, last year, the date also signified another cowardly attack.
On Sept. 11, 2014, a group of young men and women visiting Philly for a group dinner verbally and physically attacked a gay couple in Center City. While the attackers allege the men were culpable, the victims and a witness have attested that the group taunted the couple about their sexual orientation, and started throwing punches after the men stood up, verbally, for themselves. The beating left one of the men bleeding profusely with broken bones; he ultimately had to have his jaw wired shut for two months.
The suspects — a group of upper-class, white, suburban college grads — were quickly brought in, and quickly bailed out. And a year later, justice has yet to be secured for the victims.
At the start of this summer, the District Attorney’s Office offered the three suspects plea deals and, as of presstime, and as the one-year anniversary comes and goes, they’re still considering the bargains.
Perhaps the socioeconomic statuses of the defendants’ families have played a role in how this case has carried out.
Save for one appearance at a pre-trial hearing late last year, surrounded by dozens of family and friends, the trio has not had to report back to court. We’ve watched from the courtroom as defendant after defendant, whose cases were scheduled for hearings in the same room as this one, met with their public defenders and came before the judge, while this trio was spared even the trip to court. Instead, their high-powered attorneys have handled the case for them, through pre-trial motions and fleeting court visits to continue to pre-empt the next phase of the case.
The couple, the community and the city have waited a year for justice. What the D.A.’s Office has deemed that to be in this case is yet to be seen, but the time for a resolution is long passed.
These defendants and their supporters have characterized themselves in the media as victims; however, the real victims in this case need to know that the criminal-justice system is working, swiftly, to bring them the justice they deserve.