I guess beating up a gay couple in Philadelphia doesn’t get you jail time, but it does keep you from going downtown …
Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan, the two men who, along with Kathryn Knott, hurled anti-gay epithets, and then their fists, at Zachary Hesse and Andy Haught, a gay couple simply walking down a Philadelphia street, have taken a plea deal that says they must stay away from downtown Philadelphia, pay about a thousand dollars in restitution and perform 200 hours of service at a facility serving the LGBT community.
Williams can’t go downtown for five years, while Harrigan cannot return for three years, though they could be granted temporary exemptions to attend necessary appointments.
That’s punishment, Pennsylvania-style; yes, for beating a couple because they were gay — even though both Williams and Harrigan say they didn’t do it because the couple was gay — these two men simply have to stay out of downtown, pay a couple of bucks and sweep the floor at an LGBT community center. It sounds like they’re being grounded and having their allowance cut off.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how many bigots and homophobes will now want to beat up a gay couple in Philadelphia if all they have to do is avoid the area for a few years.
Oh, and to be fair, Williams and Harrigan, who plead guilty to assault and conspiracy, did apologize to the victims, and the judge, in open court, though they still refuse to admit the beating wasn’t motivated by the couple’s sexual orientation. Huh; I guess they just wanted to beat up a couple of people for no reason then? And I guess that’s kind of okay?
Prosecutors say Hesse and Haught had wanted to resolve the issue quickly and avoid excessive punishment while sending a positive message about tolerance and understanding.
Wait … what? How is this slap on the wrist anything other than a get out of jail free card? How is it tolerant and understanding to beat up a couple of strangers, while calling them all kinds of homophobic names, and then letting them off this easy?
I guess I am not so tolerant and understanding because the sentence doesn’t fit the crime. Stay away from downtown? How is that going to be enforced? Are there ankle bracelets involved? And what happens if these two idiots break that part of the ruling? Jail? Do we just slap them on the wrist again?
This just screams to me that beating up a gay couple in Philadelphia isn’t a crime, but then maybe that’s the real truth since Pennsylvania’s Hate Crime law doesn’t cover sexual orientation so beating up a gay couple really isn’t that big a deal.
On the upside, that third defendant, Kathryn Knott, daughter of a police officer, refused the plea deal and will go to trial.
Maybe they’ll sentence her to staying away from her downtown hairdresser for five years.
That’ll show her.