Fourty-four-year-old Terry Rawls is the first arrest for the mob beating of Matthew Owens in Mobile, Alabama. The victim apparently told a group of kids to go home after his niece saw "a group of African-American youth moving from yard to yard in the neighborhood and taking something that didn't belong to them." Owens confronted the kids, telling them to go home, according to an interview with Matthew's sister, Ashley Parker. It has been previously reported that Mr. Owens told the group of children to go home because they were playing basketball outside of his house, but this is disputed by Owens' sister.
The kids went home, but "returned with more than a dozen others, she said, beating Owens with bats, brass knuckles, a chair, a paint can and other objects." Deputy Police Chief Lester Hargrove said investigators believe that the mob stood by as about four people actively participated in the beating, which left Matthew Owens in a pool of blood and clinging to his life. Several sources confirm that Matthew pleaded with his attackers. According the local news, witnesses claim one of those attackers screamed, "That's justice for Trayvon" as she drove away.
The man arrested, Terry Rawls, is no stranger to trouble, as his criminal history includes "assault, burglary, theft and cocaine possession." The victim himself also has a history of "domestic violence, assault and sex abuse."
As one local reporter was about to report from the street where the attack took place, a woman started to shout at the reporters about Owens and what she seems to think is unfair coverage of the incident. The tense exchange was posted by wkrg. Police and neighbors say that there have been tensions for years in the neighborhood, with some accusing the victim of racism. Owens and Rawls have had an ongoing feud for three years, according to the DA's Office.
The victim's sister said she is "scared to death" and plans to move this week. She told the Daily Caller, "My brother is being smeared. ... I know how this works now. The victim always ends up the bad guy. I have lost faith in humanity because of this." In an interview with the victim's brother, Lloyd Owens, Lloyd said that Matthew was going "in and out" of consciousness. Matthew said to his brother, "Don't let me die."
While the incident itself is shocking, the real story is that nobody in the mob itself stopped the crime. Additionally, none of the witnesses stepped forward to assist the victim. Whatever the reason for the attack, mob violence is clearly not the answer. Hopefully justice will prevail in this case.