This site is growing by the day. It all began with one page, this page, with one letter. Now we have letters going out from all over. I am receiving responses from students at The University of Delaware and from state officials. I have heard from so many people who can sympathize with what happened to my brother and are concerned for their own safety. I urge you to share this website. More importantly, I urge you to speak out! If anything happens to you or your friends and family, write a letter, call the police, don't keep silent. Keeping silent and giving up will not solve this problem. We all need to participate in the fight against violence.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
To Whom It May Concern:
The students at the University of Delaware were recently told that a Special Operations Unit of the Newark Police had been assembled to crack down on alcohol-related violators in order to "encourage students to make wise decisions." Though this will most certainly benefit the students' safety as well as the safety of Newark residents, it is not the only thing that needs to be helped. Violence has been a widespread issue on campus for years and the situation worsens by the day. One would think that with burglaries, assaults and rapes happening in great numbers over periods of years that violence on campus, and in the city of Newark, would be something people want to be proactive about. However, there are not any programs, to give the University of Delaware money to stop violence. There is a program to combat alcohol related issues on campus that the University has a partnership with called "A Matter of Degree." By being a partner in this program the University is given a large amount of money each year. The grants associated with "A Matter of Degree" are amounts of up to $700,000. Perhaps that is why it is so important to crack down on drinking and spend less time cracking down on campus safety, because there is money to be gained.
Parents of students were happy to hear that enforcement would be increased to lessen instances of alcohol related abuse on campus. The Newark Police were quick to record how many drinking violations they had serviced over the Labor Day holiday weekend this year, 117, and they are very apt at explaining their plans to stop drinking and driving by setting up blockades to keep people from drinking driving. Should we be concerned with underage consumption of alcohol, yes, but should that be our only concern, no, it shouldn't even be the biggest concern. Should the consumption of alcohol be the presumed reason for violence in the eyes of authority? No, certainly not. Unfortunately, what is conveniently not reported are the multiple unsafe areas forming in and around the campus that are not directly related to the use of alcohol. In fact, in many cases unless you are directly involved in a violent altercation, you may never know how unsafe Newark has gotten for the students and residents. Why? Because Newark police and University Police seem to share the same lack of public informing and the news goes unreported to the community.
Last week, early Saturday morning on September 10, 2005, there were three known assaults on the streets of Newark between Courtney and Chambers. Two were reported publicly a couple of days later after a tip was given to reporters at The News Journal. The three men who were assaulted were taken to the hospital, two with broken jaws , three with head contusions and all of them needing medical treatment. The first man was sent with a broken jaw at around 1:30 a.m. to Christiana Hospital's ER. The next victim ended up classified by University Police as a self-inflicted wound due to drinking and falling on the sidewalk, even though witnesses saw that he was assaulted. The same group of people assaulted another person not even an hour later, shattering his jaw, fracturing an eye orbit and causing several facial lacerations. There was such damage to his head that the doctor at Christiana Hospital who treated him said they should he tried for attempted murder if ever they are caught. One would think that had the police reported the situation correctly the first time then the third assault could have been prevented. In only a matter of a few hours three men were violently assaulted for no apparent reason and it is possible more people were hurt and did not report the incident.
Early in the morning on Sunday, September 18, 2005, a little over a week after the recently reported assaults, the same criminals strike again. A man left his town home on Chambers Street to find a group of people standing near his car. He got into his car and asked them to move so that he could leave his driveway, they began spitting on the car and threw a beer bottle at it. Rather than call police, the victim drove away, because he and the friends didn't want trouble. About 15 minutes later he was driving down Courtney Street, which is two blocks down, and saw the same group of people who had caused him trouble previously. He stopped his car and approached them to question them. One person extended his arm to shake hands and make peace. At that time another counter part of the group decided to throw a punch at a bystander who happened upon the group, he threw him against the car and hit him. Then a girl who was friends with the victim asked the perpetrator to stop and she was pushed to the ground. The driver tried to keep everyone calm and told his friends to back up. At this time the victim and his three friends got back into his car. When he turned to look out his window he was punched in the face. Not long after this the driver took himself to the Christiana Hospital ER, because one tooth was completely fractured and two other teeth were loose, he could not stop the bleeding. He was treated for the assault and then went home. Later in the morning he and his family went to Newark Police to report the incident.
The man who was assaulted is my brother. My parents and I went with him to the Newark Police at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 18, 2005. We went to the Newark Police because they needed to be aware of the situation and conduct an investigation to find out who these criminals are and make sure that justice prevails. We did not want something like this to happen again next weekend to another innocent person. As my brother described what had happened, though he could barely open his mouth, Officer Beighlet interrupted repeatedly, never allowing him to finish a sentence. He said my brother should have called the police when the beer bottle was thrown at his car initially. He then said my brother should not have gone to retaliate on his own. It is true that he could have called the police initially, but he felt that by the time they arrived, the perpetrators would be gone anyway, so he decided to forget about it and went about his business. By chance he ended up seeing the same group of people on Courtney Street 15 minutes later; he did not go looking for them. Right before our eyes and ears we heard the officer fabricate what he thought must have happened and all but blame my brother for his being assaulted. Officer Beighlet said they have increased patrol in that area of Newark but they there are only so many officers and only so much they can do. He also said that there was a football game Saturday night and the officers had to pay more attention to that area of campus, however the football game ended hours before any of this trouble began. My family left the Newark Police station feeling completely at a loss. It was as though what we said meant nothing and yet again our justice system seemed more like an "injustice system."
Students at the University of Delaware may be young adults, but they are there because they are intelligent adults. These same students may decide to go out and party on the weekends, they may drink, but they do not ask to be beaten senselessly and sent to the hospital; there is no excuse for this violence. It is an atrocity that University of Delaware police and the Newark police would rather criticize and blame the victims than to help better the situation by reassuring their safety. There is no reason why someone who is assaulted should end up being charged with an alcohol violation. He is 21 years old, he was walking home, was beaten and left bleeding on the sidewalk. University of Delaware police assumed he had fallen and wrote him a violation before sending him to the emergency room. A week later my brother was punched while sitting in his car and he is told that he should have called police sooner. Should have, could have, would have, it doesn't matter what you say because the finger should not be pointed at the victims of these crimes.
In addition to the random acts of violence described, there have been over 12 burglaries reported on campus in Newark in the past three weeks. If we are going to count traffic violations and alcohol violations then we should be aware of all the numbers. So let's start counting! Just last year a student was brutally murdered on campus and several people were attacked, some by gun point, and robbed all across the city. The year before there was several sexual assaults and rapes, with criminals going into the dorms of students and attacking them. Multiple times a week the University of Delaware police receive reports of damage to vehicles, injured subjects and disorderly conduct. Safety, or lack thereof, is a huge issue and concern in Newark and on campus at The University of Delaware. Silence is acceptance and I refuse to accept this behavior from authority figures that swear to protect their community. I refuse to keep silent just because the city of Newark and the University of Delaware do not want a bad reputation. Something needs to be done and if it needs to start with one voice then so be it, I'll be that voice.
Bear, DE 19701
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