No Knock Out: police charge two in Mall beating, details emerge

Spears+Stevenson+mugs

Richard Spears and Malcolm Stevenson were arrested on Wednesday and charged with assault.

What was portrayed as a vicious, unprovoked “knock out game” and “Clockwork Orange” style attack on a white couple by a group of black males on the Downtown Mall, both on social media and in initial press reports, appears to have been nothing of the sort.

“Nothing in support of this investigation leads us to believe this was a “knock out” attack,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo during a press conference on Wednesday, January 8 announcing that 25-year-old Malcolm James Stevenson and 23-year-old Richard Bernard Spears, both of Charlottesville, had been arrested and charged with assault. They were released that same day and must appear in court on February 5.

Based on interviews with the suspects and the victims, 39-year old Marc Adams and Jeanne Doucette, Longo said that the incident that happened between Blue Light Grill and the Wells Fargo Bank building at approximately 1:40am on December 20 “began as a verbal confrontation” between the two parties after Stevenson and Spears “mocked and laughed” at Adams after he’d tripped and fell on the Mall, then “escalated into a physical confrontation.”

Previously, Adams and Doucette, both on Facebook posts and in a interview with Cville Weekly, claimed to have had no involvement in initiating the confrontation, which they characterized as a “knock out” game and “Clockwork Orange” style attack without rhyme or reason.  That characterization, dramatized in Cville Weekly, quickly went viral after the story was re-posted on the Drudge Report, fueled by the perception that three black males had attacked a white couple for mere sport and entertainment. Needless to say, that version of events prompted some racially charged opinions and comments and blog posts (“Black Mob Violence in Charlottesville“), which became so hostile that Cville Weekly’s editor decided to shut down the comment section. The Cville Weekly story also highlighted the opinion of Adams and Doucette that the police had been slow to respond to their case and that they “didn’t seem to care” about seeking justice, which prompted public outrage against the police, and stoked fears that the Mall was an unsafe and dangerous place.

Like a game of Post Office gone terribly wrong, the story was used to advance all manner of opinions and theories, everything from proof that white people were under attack by black people, that police were part of a conspiracy to withhold information, that newspaper editors were conspiring to censor the truth, and that this was all really about having a more compassionate and frank dialogue about race in America. In reality, so far as the police investigation and a previous story in the DTM reveal, this appears to have simply been a fight, triggered perhaps by alcohol and a hostile exchange of words, with Adams and Doucette taking the worst of it. Longo also appeared to be calling into question the extent of of the injuries that Adams claimed to have suffered, saying the investigation so far revealed that Adams had suffered only “damage to a tooth and some soft tissue injury.” That appears to be reflected in the level of the charges filed against Stevenson and Spears, which amount to a simple assault, not the aggravated assault it was first made out to be.

Stevenson and Spears, who, according to Longo, turned themselves in on their own and cooperated fully with investigators, clearly attacked Adams and Doucette after that “exchange of words,” but what motivated the attack is still unclear.  Indeed, why would Stevenson and Spears, who have no history of violent criminal activity, according to court records, have attacked Adams so aggressively?

As previously reported by the DTM, two separate sources, who wished to remain anonymous, but who were questioned by detectives in the investigation, said that Doucette told people that Adams had “said something that provoked the men.” Longo did not offer any specifics on what might have been said, saying it was “not really clear what the exchange had been.” As previously reported, sources the DTM spoke to said the attackers were known to be gay, and that they may have been angered by specific comments uttered by Adams and/or Doucette. Indeed, Stevenson, who delivered the majority blows to Adams, has a profile on a social media website called spring.me, under the handle “luverangel,” on which he reveals that he knew he was gay when he was 12-years old. Stevenson also appears in a video of the former Hook Newspaper’s “Question of the Week” feature, answering a question in May, 2011 about what he was going to do for the summer.

While Longo has admitted that a communication “breakdown” caused the case not to be assigned to investigators as soon as it could have, during and interview with the DTM, he bristled at the suggestion that his police force had acted negligently, or that they weren’t concerned about solving the case. As detailed previously in the DTM, the behavior of the victims had as much to do with the progress of the case as the internal communication breakdown. As Longo reiterated at the press conference, Adams refused to file a report with an officer at the scene, refused even to provide his name or have his injuries photographed, and refused medical attention, as did Doucette. It wasn’t until 24 hours later that Adams, after posting on Facebook about the incident, decided to call police. And, of course, as stories in the DTM suggest, and the police investigation seems to confirm, both Adams and Doucette may have been less than forthcoming about the circumstances surrounding the incident when they first posted on Facebook and spoke to the press, choosing instead to characterize the incident in a way that avoided revealing their involvement in the confrontation.

In the end, this may be a story about the power of the press, and the power of social media to dictate how events are perceived by the public. Indeed, during the DTM’s interview with Longo, it was clear the Chief knew that he was powerless to alter the growing public perception of what had happened, which so many people accepted as the truth before any investigation was completed. On the other hand, Longo and his department were clearly motivated by that public perception,  which made them focus harder on solving the case.

47 thoughts on “No Knock Out: police charge two in Mall beating, details emerge

  1. 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.

    • Mr. Toro,

      You are welcome to your opinion, and there are plenty of other news reports out there that come from your perspective, and do indeed detail what the victims offered in their account of the incident. This is my version of events. You don’t like it. I understand that. But I am not, as you say, “blaming the victims” or saying that they are gay bashers. That’s you reading between the lines. Again, since you seem to know so much about the incident, I’ll ask you: why do you think the two men attacked Adams and Doucette so aggressively?

      • “As previously reported, sources the DTM spoke to said the attackers were known to be gay, and that they may have been angered by specific comments uttered by Adams and/or Doucette.” From the previous article you wrote. Why mention “comment uttered” and “attackers were known to be gay” in the same sentence if you weren’t trying to imply a correlation? No lines to read between, it is all in one sentence.

      • I believe the THREE boys attacked them because they had been drinking..or because they had issues or maybe they were looking for fun??. But you say it was in defense. Because they are gay? How did the victims know the offenders were gay? When did BEATING TWO PEOPLE become okay? It is much harder to imagine Marc saying something nasty to them than it is to see the ignorant glee on their faces in the pictures. It is okay to admit that the “powers that be” do not want the malls reputation soiled. It is okay to say “we are ignoring the broken ribs, busted ankle and partially detached ear… for the sake of downtown business. At least then we would be hearing the truth from the media. That would be cool.

      • “Why do you think the two men attacked Adams and Doucette so aggressively?” I actually don’t see how it matters unless the attackers were resorting to violence as an act of self-defense. If Marc Adams said or didn’t say anything before being attacked how would it justify an attack. Not liking what a person says does not give anyone else the legal right to physically assault anyone else. Otherwise people could assault you simply if they become offended by your article. What if this had been an instance where three white male UVA students had attacked an African American couple walking on the mall and the students had been giving each other high fives when doing it? Would it really change anything if the African American man had been intoxicated, had tripped, and resorted to calling the group of students, “A bunch of stupid rich crackers”? I really don’t see how it would eliminate the students’ accountability for physically attacking anyone. What if the assaulted couple had been gay? What if the intoxicated gay couple called a group of three guys, “Ignorant, inbreed, red-neck white trash!”? Would it be okay for three guys to then assault the gay couple. Would you still ask people, “What made those three men attack the gay couple so aggressively?” Would you still suggest that the gay couple had chosen to, “characterize the incident in a way that avoided revealing their involvement in the confrontation”? Is there really anything that can be said in any of these scenarios that could justify physical assault. Since I personally wouldn’t justify an assault in any of these scenarios, I don’t see how I can support your conclusions and observations about the Adams incident. How does it matter if Adams said anything? Do his supposed comments justify an attack in your opinion? Did he deserve it? Would your opinion and commentary change in any of the hypothetical scenarios I’ve mentioned? If so, why should your politicized opinions about the Adams incident be embraced?

      • If you’ve never suffered a concussion (I have), you may not understand how they cause you to become confused, and disoriented. This injury affects your decision-making process, and is sometimes permanent. No one can pretend to know what was said or perceived prior, during, and after the brutal assault, by any of the actors involved. A 5’2 woman was beaten for asking the men to stop attacking her friend who was prone and defenseless on the pavement. In my jurisdiction they would have been charged with Mob Action, and Aggravated Battery, both felonies.

        To somehow mitigate the actions of the ‘attackers.’ based on what may or may not have been said by Mr. Adams, is to blame the rape victim for dressing ‘provocatively.’

        Let due process take it’s course, and be thankful that the victims survived the attack.

        From the outside looking in, I sense that Derek Toro is the most reasonable person populating this thread.

  2. Again, that’s you filling in the blanks. Those specific comments could have been “have a nice day” or “I like your outfit”….we don’t know. We don’t know what set the attackers off. But something obviously did. Could it have been a racial or gay bashing comment? Perhaps. But it might have been something completely different. I’m just reporting what I know. Again, why do you think the the two men attacked Adams and Doucette?

    • I’m sorry Dave, but the description of the alleged attackers as “gay” does little to enhance the story if you are not trying to link it to the incident in some way, Why not say, the two men were “East enders” or that they liked Heavy Metal? Or perhaps you could have told us about their weight or cholesterol counts? Those details seem to be about as irrelevant as the issue of sexual orientation of the alleged attackers if there is no implied link in your story. Their sexual orientation does little to expose the facts of this story but much to direct a reader to as you write, “read between the lines.” I find the tone of your story to be very much what Mr. Toro has said. Please sir, do let us know why this was relevant to you in your assessment of what should be included here. Can you tell us about Marc or Jeanne’s sexual orientation? Why not? Because it is not relevant outside of the imaginations of those who wish to make this incident something other than it was, a violent assault and criminal act.

    • Why mention them being gay in the same sentence as “specific comments” then? You were inferring it, just admit it. These articles you wrote are nothing but misinformation, half truths and outright lies. You obviously are just trying to gain sensationalism and hope this goes viral to help out your failed career. You are arrogant and smug. Be a man and admit what you are doing.

      • Amen…McNair tortures the story with references to ‘gay bashing,’ and in the same breath decries the victims for ‘crying wolf,’ about the circumstances of the attack.

        Hypocrisy:
        Applying criticism to others that one does not apply equally to oneself; moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues; an instance of either of the above

        McNair meet Kettle.

    • 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.

      • Again, as the police investigation revealed, after interviews with the suspects and victims, the incident was precipitated by a “verbal confrontation” between the parties. The point here is that it was not a “knock out” style attack, done for mere sport and entertainment, as it was originally portrayed by the victims. Yes, Diniwlf, I was once the victim of a brutal attack. I have also been held up at gun point. In both cases, I filed a report with police at the scene, and in the hospital, and in both cases the attackers were found within days. Justice will hopefully be served here, as the attackers were arrested and charged, so I’m not sure what you’re all worked up about. This story is about how the incident was portrayed. Do you believe it was a “knock out” or “Clockwork Orange” style attack done for mere sport and entertainment by thugs looking for random victims, as it was originally characterized by the victims in the press and on Facebook?

    • I guess your agenda is personal… too big to share. But attacking the victims to protect the DTM is shameful… They are better people than you could ever imagine. You need to open your eyes and pay attention. Mr McNair, You are plain wrong and you print half truths. Shameful.

    • A journalist worth his salt doesn’t create ‘blanks to fill in’ by introducing Red Herrings. A good journalist does his homework and reports the facts without engaging in specious argumentation. Save your worldview for the OpEd section.

    • You are not just reporting. You are an apologist for terrible actions by two thugs. This is not “kindergarten” and there is no provocation defense. These men beat and assaulted two people and should have the book thrown at them. It is reprehensible that you are blaming the victims and excusing the actions of the two individuals who beat them.

  3. I am glad to get a more well rounded view of the incident than the victims apparently offered. I also agree that this article seems a bit slanted, perhaps as a well intentioned effort to conterbalance the knock out game media bullshit. The fact (if it is one) that the attackers mocked a guy who trips and then got very violent due to a verbal retort implys they were looking for trouble.

  4. Wow, this article is just absolute garbage… seriously, you should be embarrassed to have written something like this. What kind of warped sociopath would try and imply that the victims of this vicious assault are somehow to blame. This reads like something out of Orwell’s 1984 with its twisted half truths and subtle hints that the victims somehow brought on their attack. Do you live in a cave or something, because you sound like you are completely naive to the evil which lurks in this world. Innocent people get randomly attacked by violent thugs on a daily basis these days and like an ostrich with it’s head in the ground you act like you’ve never heard of such attacks before. Do you also ask stupid questions about rape victims like “why do you think the two men raped her”, while implying that rape victims somehow provoke their attackers into raping them. I’ll give you an assignment… Google, Cultural Marxism and the Frankfort school and read, read, read because you sound like you are literally the poster child for their brand of brain washing and self-hatred. I doubt that there is any hope for you at this point but maybe, just maybe something will click in your head and you will magically be returned to the sanity which you were surely born with.

    • Speaking of Orwell, McNair has the whole Newspeak thing down pat.

      “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
      George Orwell

  5. White people, you are stupid. Blacks know you won’t do anything and you won’t band together for protection. Enjoy the results

  6. One should get an immediate medical report to prove damages from an assault if they intend to press charges. Sounds like everyone did the wrong thing here, but calling it a “knockout game” (a random attack) online well after the fact makes them look like they had something to hide — whether they are completely innocent or not.

    • 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?

  7. “Stoked fears that the mall is an unsafe and dangerous place” well it is, it always has been. I have been telling people for 20 years now that the mall is not a safe place. There are more incidents like this than I can possibly count to back up the fact.

  8. “As previously reported, sources the DTM spoke to said the attackers were known to be gay, and that they may have been angered by specific comments uttered by Adams and/or Doucette.”

    Yep. Either the author of this article is suggesting that the attack was provoked by gay bashing or the author is just a lousy journalist with a poor sense of logic.

  9. Trying to restart your career after your paper failed by playing tennis with Drudge where, my friend, the victim, is the tennis ball just is about as low as you can get David McNair.

    • 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?

  10. I don’t know why commenters here are getting so worked up over a logical shift away from the original story. There are very few random acts of violence. Suggesting that a verbal altercation instigated the beating makes sense and seems to align with reports from reliable sources. Justice must still be served and it looks like it will be, but there’s no point in placing victim and perpetrator at two extremes on the good and evil spectrum; that’s too tidy a portrayal to represent reality.

    • “logical shift away from the original story”, really? So suggesting that it was based on race or them being gay with no facts at all to support it is logical? I know David says he is not inferring that, but he quoted to Gawker that that is exactly what he believes. I know Marc and I can assure you that he would never say anything racist or against gays. So, no, this is not a logical shift away from the original story, this is one reporter trying to restart his failed career and using a victim to do it, that is all.

  11. Wow! I had lost track of this story until today when I ran across your “interview with the attackers…” Referenced above. That led me to this one, which I have just finished along with all the comments to date. I thank you for the updated information and summarizing (somewhere – I lost track in all the speculative, detail-laden comments above) that this was a fight among a group of people, most of whom were in some degree of intoxication.
    This was not part of an alleged epidemic of gang-related, racially charged “sporting” attacks on helpless victims. It was a late night street brawl. This was not “proof” that the CPD has a policy of minimal response to interracial incidents. It was drunken behavior that became more violent and harder to sort out as it progressed. This was not the “last straw” event that conclusively rendered the DTM no longer a benign place to wander through at 1:30AM. NO streets or open malls or parks, squares, etc. are benign at 1:30AM.
    So somebody is going to face assault charges which they may or may not successfully defend against. Like a football penalty of Unsportsmanlike Conduct, a lot of people can be involved, and it’s usually not the one who started but rather the last one seen, who gets the flag. A number of people got hurt, some more than others, and the relative seriousness of the injuries does not necessarily indicate who is a victim and who is an assaulter. The seriousness of injuries could just as well correlate with the level of intoxication.
    So again, thank you. The story winds down and the legal and judicial systems will take over, and C’ville can go back to its thoughtful consideration of how make DTM and all of the town safer and more appealing.

  12. OK, enough. Toro & Mark. You know nothing. It’s OK to have a one sided story from some local crap paper & you eat that up, but when you get the other side you don’t like it? BS. Rag on some former crappy paper, I don’t care, but when you say “I don’t know…blah, blah, blah” it just shows your ignorance. I do know these people. Marc SPIT on a man last year & didn’t get his just desserts. You wanna talk it, walk it. You play out of your league and lose, then take it & shut up. I’m tired of all the crying… boo hoo, I got beat up because I ran my mouth. They should feel lucky they got off that easy. If it were actual “thugs” like the “breaking story claimed” it may have been in a different section of the paper. If you have ANY desire to debate me on this subject, I would be happy to give either you ALL of my contact info. You know nothing.

  13. Wow. I guess journalism degrees must come in cracker jack boxes these days.

    Is the local media worried about loadings advertising revenue?

    Were I the assaulted couple, I would sue the media outlet in question–no apologies, just money.

  14. Sooo, three guys mock and laugh at a guy who takes a tumble. The tumbler (5’5 140 lbs) responds with words that offended the three mockers. The mockers attack the tumbler and his 5’2 girlfriend, and two of the mockers are eventually charged with “assault.”

    The tumbler and his 5’2 girlfriend receive injuries to include a concussion, fractures, and torn ear cartilage.

    Should the assault victims be prosecuted for falsely reporting the crime as another in series of hundreds of ‘knockout’ attacks nationwide.

    Wow…now there’s a story.

    “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
    George Orwell

  15. You’re still the cracker-jack journalist, Dave. People are getting worked up because we are tired of propaganda being shoveled at us as if it were gold nuggets and not the real brown nuggets of crap it really is. Truth Matters!

    “…this appears to have simply been a fight, triggered perhaps by alcohol and a hostile exchange of words, with Adams and Doucette taking the worst of it.” Well, that is settled then. The mere existence that black on white crime is skyrocketing only second to black on black crime has NOTHING to do with this event, nothing. Really. Other than adding it to the bottom line of all the other black on white crime statistics, that is. And Dave, you are leading your readers into things that aren’t there, plain and simple. It’s not “your” version that matters but that you have created one to make people have a perception YOU want, not what truly happened.

    Derek, this Dave guy is probably a flaming liberal. Oops, better watch what I say, I may get “simply assaulted.”

    Oh, and by the way? A “simple assault” doesn’t make “actual violence” any softer. So the “majority of [sic] blows ” is a simple assault… okay, whatever dickweed. And “according to court records” does not quantify the racial crime and violence numbers being non-existent or less by one iota. That’s like saying they must never go over the speed limit since they have never gotten a speeding ticket.

    So lemmie get this straight… these two black dudes were laughing their asses off over him tripping…. “Adams…said something that provoked the men.” Geeze, like maybe STFU? And how are those “fighting words” but being ridiculed is A-ok? Well, if the DTM can make shit up, why can’t I? And what the hell does this black guys sexual preference have to do with anything that happened that night? NOTHING.. but let’s get all personal and cozy with the perp, shall we? Typical, humanize the aggressor and ignore the victim.

    The case not being assigned as it should have IS negligence… holy shit, what do they really thing negligence is? And now you’re gonna believe the dipshit cop that the victim refused all courses of action or help. “stories in the DTM suggest” Yeah, stories are always so factual. Where is that investigation report anyway so we can confirm that confirmation? “characterize the incident in a way that avoided revealing their involvement in the confrontation” like you mean they said the black guys started it – which they did. Of course the were involved, the black guys made sure of that.

    After your completely shitty story, I would tend to agree with “the power of the press.. dictating [sic] how events are perceived by the public” and “motivated by that public perception, which made them focus harder…” at doing their job.

    “young African American Activist = extreme progressive useful idiots on the dole. Okay so Spears and Stevenson knew they were waaay too drunk to fight let alone hold their tongues… and they think it’s okay to get physical with a woman? – first they say they slapped her down and then they never struck her. “going to be portrayed as thugs in the press “because we are white.” THAT never happened… lol omg how transparent is that? “It saddens me in my heart that this happens to African-Americans all the time,” YEAH, by other black people usually. THEY ARE LYING. Big deal, sticks and stones – grow some balls. Walk away and ignore the falling down drunk man that you were so frightened of that you had to get close enough to him to be threatened… whatever. It sounds like a 7 year old trying to get out of trouble with mom…

  16. Why does it even matter what caused the aggression? Physical violence is WRONG. Plain and simple. Even if provoked, and I’m not sure if that’s even the case here, those two men acted on impulse and that’s scary. I hope they find some help for their aggression and can somehow become trusted members of the public. Otherwise they are where they belong.

  17. Pingback: Knockout fallout: Cville Weekly to be target of protest, again | THE DTM

  18. Pingback: THE DTM

  19. Pingback: Knock at the door: Protesters accuse C-Ville Weekly of “inflaming racial tensions” | THE DTM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s