This string of events, court case, and circumstances is a real GRAY AREA.
Gasps filled the courtroom in Pottsville Friday as not-guilty verdicts were announced on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and ethnic intimidation for the teens.
A death caused by a brutal beating of an illegal immigrant. Alcohol. Teenagers as the culprits. Small town America. All white jury. Religion. Racism.
Walsh pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Ramirez’s civil rights and could be out of prison in four years. On the witness stand, he identified Piekarsky as the kicker. So did Scully, who told jurors he tried to kick the immigrant but missed. Scully is charged in juvenile court with aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation.
This one is not going to go away anytime soon.
Even if the verdict came back guilty I think this one still hangs out there as a big giant hornet’s nest.
Questions hanging out there:
- Did the culprits get off easy?
- Was racism at play in the courtroom?
- What rights does an illegal immigrant have?
- How do we prosecute teens?
- Did the recent debates in the region stir up violence?
- What are the consequences at play here?
- What are the histories of these teens? of the victim? of the town?
- What is the legal precedent? the cultural precedent?
More than anything we need to talk about these things. Debate them. This situation doesn’t have an easy answer nor an absolute answer. It’s real gray and the gray things require a lot of thought and debate. Let’s start.