SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Nine teens and preteens were arrested for allegedly beating and robbing an openly gay man at a Springfield park Tuesday morning. The 30 year-old victim was badly hurt in the attack, which police are labeling a hate crime.
According to Springfield Police Sergeant John Delaney, Shay Andre Edwards, 19, of Springfield was arrested on charges of unarmed robbery and violation of civil rights with injury. Four other teen boys and four teen girls have are also facing the same crimes in connection with the attack. Their identities are not being released because they are underage. Delaney says the attackers ranged in age from 12 to 19 years old.
According to Delaney, before 3:00 Tuesday morning, the group saw the 30 year-old man walking by Barrows Park. They called out to the man, telling him to enter the park, but he kept walking. That was when they allegedly knocked him to the ground. The male teens punched him in the face and kicked him in the head and stomach, while the females of the group cheered them on. All the while, the group members allegedly yelled out anti-gay slurs. The group allegedly took his MP3 player before running off.
After being taken to a hospital by ambulance, the victim was able to provide police with a description of his nine young attackers. Police scooped up the entire group only a quarter mile from the park where they assaulted the man, and brought them to the hospital to be identified, which they were. One of the juvenile attackers had the MP3 player in possession.
This may come across as naive, but how did these 9 teens and preteens escape the nonstop news about hate crimes against LGBT Americans and young, gay suicides over the past year or so? In the face of these highly publicized cases, hate crime charges almost immediately follow – which they will in this case as well.
What a phenomenal waste of a childhood. Jerks.