Vigilante beating sparks controversy

    Mayor Michael Nutter and the police chief are saying they don’t want charges pressed against the Kensington residents who attacked a rape suspect, but legal experts are talking about the issues raised by vigilante justice.

    The reaction of some Philadelphians to a heinous crime could itself be a crime. Mayor Michael Nutter and the police chief are saying they don’t want charges pressed against the Kensington residents who attacked a rape suspect, but legal experts are talking about the issues raised by vigilante justice.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090604tmvigilante.mp3]

    The head of the NAACP says this week’s incident of neighborhood residents beating a suspect in the sexual assault of an 11 year-old girl is an example of vigilante justice that should not be tolerated.

    Jerry Mondesire is President of the NAACP in Philadelphia.

    Mondesire: We should track down violent felons like this rapist lock them up, don’t allow the community or encourage the community to take justice into their own hands.

    Temple University psychologist Frank Farley says people are frustrated with the proliferation of violence in society and this might not be the only time people take control in an unacceptable way.

    Farley: It’s not going to be easy to stop this in fact we might see a copycat of this behavior.

    Farley says the behavior should not be condoned but discussed in terms of what is appropriate citizen action.

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