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Mobile police arrest one person for massive mob lynching

Terry Rawls. Photo from

So far the Mobile, Alabama police have arrested one person in the near fatal racially motivated lynching of Matthew Owens. Residents, where the attack took place, are on edge and are hoping for a lot more. The people who lived with the victim say they remain indoors at all times for fear of being attacked.

According to neighbors, Owens told some black kids to stop running through his yard. The kids called Owens racial slurs and then left. A short while later 4-5 cars pulled up. A huge mob of black men, women, and children spilled out of the cars. They were armed with a baseball bat, brass knuckles, a pipe. Others picked up chairs and paint cans. Owens was beaten, nearly to death, on his own front porch. His sister, who was inside, estimated the mob at twenty people. Another witness, who lives across the street, says there could have been as many as forty.

When the mob finally left, both the sister and the neighbor say that a member of the mob screamed “this was revenge for Trayvon.” The Mobile, Alabama mayor, police chief, and the deputy police chief are all three black. The police are denying it was racially motivated. The mayor has promised that the perps will be brought to justice, but has also stated that the case was “being blown out of proportion.” MSNBC has tried to paint the victim as a violent drunk who brought the attack on himself.

A journalist for American Spectator Magazine went to the neighborhood himself to an on site report.

From American Spectator…

Nonetheless, a white man in a business suit at dusk in a racially tense neighborhood under a national spotlight is wise not to ask too many questions of angry black people on the street. Better to return in broad daylight. But the composite picture from white witnesses about what happened last Saturday night leaves almost no doubt that racial animus played the major role in the vicious beating. Their account, perhaps one-sided but told quietly and with obvious sincerity, follows.

Yes, Mr. Owens apparently had run-ins with black neighbors before. There was another incident where he was reportedly hit in the head (once) with a stick. This beating wasn’t just about basketball in the street. Neighbors do describe children or teenagers playing ball and refusing, rather belligerently, to move to let cars pass, but that’s the least of it. They also said the children run into neighbors yards, pick up things from yards and porches, make a lot of noise, and adopt aggressive postures.

Neighbor Calvin Speed told Lagniappe, the centrist Mobile alternative weekly, that a few “hoods… looking for trouble” aggravated what was otherwise a merely unpleasant but not necessarily dangerous situation. “It’s strictly been a racial issue that’s been building,” he said, adding that he personally has cordial exchanges with a number of other black residents of the street.

Anyway, on Saturday night, report the witnesses, the tensions seemed higher than usual. Owens, who is no shrinking violet, has a criminal record that includes arrests for domestic assault and driving under the influence. He was visiting people in the yard of 1013 Delmar when the trouble really began. Youths were running through various yards, causing commotion. Owens told them to stop. They didn’t; instead repeatedly denigrating him as “white boy.” As they argued in the middle of the street, some apparently went to get parents or other adults. It was the adults speeding up in three or four cars within five minutes, not the youths, who are described as basically going berserk. Owens tried to get to safety at 1012 Delmar, where he was staying. He made it to the porch but not through the door. The mob — described variously as 15-20 people or, in one telling from a witness, as many as 40, although that is hard to imagine in such a short time period — grabbed anything they could find as weapons. They beat Owens with paint cans — paint clearly remained on his clothes and body in the hospital — brass buckles, chairs, perhaps some bricks, and even some unlit tiki torches (used as sticks) that were in a neighbor’s yard; they hit him mostly around the head, with a few kicks or other blows to the groin and stomach for good measure. Some describe the attack as lasting at least five minutes, with Owens screaming for help but neighbors unable to do much in the face of such a large mob.

Several witnesses (not just Owens’ sister in the initial TV report) told me and other reporters that at least one of the attackers, a woman, said as she was leaving the scene that “This is justice for Trayvon,” referring to the nationally discussed tragedy in Florida that took a black 17-year-old’s life and led Sharpton to start his usual race-based histrionics and the New Black Panthers to put a bounty on the shooter, George Zimmerman.