Those involved in the so-called “knock out” attack on the Downtown Mall on December 20 had their day in court on Friday, March 21…but let’s back track a bit.
Back in December, Cville Weekly ran a story about a white couple who claimed they were brutally attacked and beaten on the DTM (one man into unconsciousness) by three black men for absolutely no reason, and speculated that it was a “knock out” game attack done for mere sport and fun. In addition, they criticized the Charlottesville police for their handling of the investigation. They also described the incident on Facebook, with one victim saying they “truly believed it was straight up sociopathic violence a la clockwork orange without prejudice or rhyme or reason.”
That version of events, along with accusation of police incompetence by the victims, catapulted the story into the national spotlight, painting a picture of a horrific case of black-on-white mob violence on the DTM. The DTM later interviewed the accused attackers, who told a different story.
So, what really happened? According to court testimony, this is pretty much how it went down:
–Two black men, Malcolm Stevenson and Richard Spears, were on their way home late at night when they saw Jeanne Doucette and Marc Adams beside the Wells Fargo Bank. Spears was quite drunk.
—Adams was very drunk and Doucette was holding him up.
—Spears laughed at them, and when Adams fell to the ground on his own, both Spears and Stevenson laughed.
—Doucette got upset and went up to Spears and pushed him (Spears told the DTM she also called him a “black faggot.” Both Stevenson and Spears are openly gay.)
–Spears then struck Doucette in the face.
–Stevenson then came over to try to break things up, and apparently ended up holding Adam and then letting him go. Since Adams was drunk, he fell heavily to the ground.
For their participation in the incident, Stevenson, Spears, and Doucette were all convicted of assault. Adams was not, as he did not push or strike anyone. Stevenson received 10 days in jail, Spears received in 40 days jail, while Doucette received a $100 fine. Are the sentences fair? People can certainly argue about that.
“We’re happy that one of the accusers was at least found guilty for her role in starting the incident,” says Kiara Redd Martin, a young activist and friend of the accused, who helped organize a protest in front of the Cville Weekly offices,” and Ms. Doucette’s report of the attack to the Cville Weekly was disproved by witnesses.”
Still, Martin says she’s baffled by the differences in the sentencing, especially because witnesses made it clear that there was a third suspect who played a role in the incident. Stevenson maintains that a third black male, who they did not know, intervened and struck Adams in the face.
“However, there’s no doubt in my mind that heavily intoxicated people from both parties, some way more intoxicated than others, used poor judgement and got themselves into a situation that could have been avoided,” says Martin. “In the end, though, the evidence and testimonies by officers, a bouncer, and witnesses proved that this was not a random unprovoked attack by three black males as Doucette characterized it in the media.”