Social media aiding police investigations

While there has definitely been progress in acceptance of the idea that the LGBT community has the right to full and equal participation in society, we should not be too complacent either, because there are still pockets of vicious anti-gay sentiment out there, even in supposedly sophisticated urban cities of the northeast like Philadelphia (which translates as ‘brotherly love’), where just last week a gay couple on a street in the city center was viciously attacked by a group of men and women.

According to police, the men were assaulted on Chancellor Street near 16th just before 11 p.m. They were walking to Mama Angelina’s, a pizza joint on Locust Street near 13th, to get some slices after sharing ice cream with one of their mothers.

Eventually, the couple, who have been together for six years, crossed paths with about a dozen twentysomethings dressed for a night on the town, according to the victims.

Someone in the group brushed shoulders with one of the men. Without provocation, another group member asked him: “Who is that, you’re f—ing boyfriend?”

“Yes, he is my boyfriend,” the victim replied.

Then all hell broke loose.

The group of men and women descended on the duo, savagely pummeling them in the face and chest. At one point, one of the victims watched as his boyfriend was slammed into the ground, his head hitting the sidewalk with a sickening thud.

All the while, the attackers spat homophobic taunts.

What is interesting is the role of social media in this case. The police released video of a group of people walking down the street just prior to the attack and social media quickly jumped in to do some sleuthing and provided leads to the police. This article discusses how social media using Facebook and Twitter managed to quickly zero on possible suspects. Attorneys for the suspects are now reportedly arranging to have them turn themselves in.

A local news station talked to one of the people on social media who helped in the investigation about how it worked.

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV


  1. Paulo Borges says

    The true potential of this is really scary.
    If a tool of this magnitude and power had been available in the times of STASI and its congenerates there would have been a repression of untold magnitude. In those times one would know when one was an informant (willingly or not), in this case all become informants, however without the true knowledge of their actions. Most people just believe any story presented by anyone and act upon it.
    There is no way to stop this and of course, as presented in the post, there is great potential for good, however I don’t believe that most people today would have the critical skills necessary to not let themselves be taken unwillingly to the “dark side”.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    FOX 29 News Philadelphia

    And they didn’t present this as a case of good ol’ Real Americans™ protecting their sacred Way of Life®?

    Roger Ailes must have taken the night off that night.

  3. Glenn says

    Had these American citizens been carrying a gun this whole tragedy could have been avoided.

    Bullies are known to run when they find they stand to get the worst of a vicious encounter of choice.

    Even Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi owned guns for defense at times.

  4. Glenn says

    Had the loving male couple only informed their attackers that their behavior was unacceptable and illegal, they would surely have ceased and desisted.

    One need only look to the number of lynchings that were halted by the simple act of providing this crucial bit of information to their attackers.

    (Satire here for the edification of #7.)

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