Five Points beating brings debate over curfew
Thu, 23 Jun 2011 20:53:03 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Columbia City Council is set to debate taking action on an emergency curfew for youths 17 and under following last week's brutal beating of a teen in Columbia's Five Points.
The June 20 beating led City Council on Tuesday to consider an emergency curfew requiring anyone 17 and younger to be off the streets from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Since the ordinance is an emergency law, it would only need to be approved on one council vote, but would expire after 65 days.
City council meets Tuesday morning and will take up the issue then. Read the entire ordinance here.Related Stories... Columbia Curfew talk curbed for now Business owners: New Five Points cameras catch break-in suspect in the act Columbia curfew proposal faces opposition
Columbia police say Strange was attacked by several teens in a parking lot in the 1900 block of Blossom Street Monday June 20.
Carter Strange and his family appeared Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, and the teen said he doesn't think about forgiving his attackers because he doesn't want to think about them at all.
Columbia Police say 19-year-old Tyheem Henrey is charged with assault and battery by a mob resulting in serious bodily injury. A judge set Henrey's bond at $750,000. He is currently being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Strange's family asked the judge to deny bond, but she said she could not because the charges weren't listed under those that can be legally denied.
On Monday six teens ranging in age from 13-16 appearing in front of a family court judge Monday.
They TMre all accused of attacking Strange last week in Five Points.
During the hearing a Columbia police department investigator testified the teens were also targeting other people to assault.
At the hearing one of the teen's attorneys presented an incident report filed by the victim Cater Strange that states he was attacked by four white males.
The investigator in the case told the court the surveillance video is self explanatory and says the suspects are the attackers.
The investigator also mentioned that the attack could have blurred Strange's memory.
Surveillance video captured the young people involved in the beating that prompted emergency brain surgery for Strange.
The City of Columbia Police Department will not tolerate violent behavior," said Columbia Police chief Randy Scott. "This teenager was minding his own business, trying to make his curfew when he was brutally attacked and robbed.
Investigators say the suspects got away with the teen's cell phone. Strange managed to make his way to Edisto Avenue two hours later where he was spotted by a passerby who then called 911.
Security in Five Points has been a long-standing issue for frustrated bar and business owners. The youth curfew debate has been bogged down by legal questions in the past. Back in March, city council members were advised by the city's attorney and Chief Scott that they would have to wait a year before trying to pass a curfew because crime statistics did not indicate there was a juvenile crime problem.
Last week, Chief Randy Scott indicated the curfew proposal is part of a larger issue.
"As it stands right now - whether we have a curfew or not - there's no reason why a 14, 15, and 16 year old should be out in a hospitality area - in Five Points, in the Vista, anywhere - unsupervised," said Scott.
Family and friends have created a Facebook page , called Justice for Carter (Opie) Strange, rallying support for Strange's recovery and bringing justice to the case.
"The gangs members and their recruits ranged in age from 19 down to 13," the page's description says. "This was an extremely brutal hate crime that was premeditated because they had already tried to attack others that same night."
Chief Scott says he doesn't think the beating was gang related but hate crime charges are a possibility.
City council was advised in March to wait on taking action on a teen curfew because stats didn't show a juvenile crime problem. Do you think there is a problem? Vote in our poll below and leave a comment.