Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Case of the Sign Spam Assault Comes to a Close


Last summer, I was assaulted as I was taking down sign spam in front of my house.  After the initial blog post, I held off on writing about the progress of the incident, wanting to see how it would play out.  The case has now come to a close, and my charges were dismissed.  That's not entirely a bad thing, as will be shown later.  But first, a brief recap:

I was sitting on my front porch, watching the world go by one summer evening when I saw a van pull up and plaster the light poles with sign spam for upcoming concerts at a downtown venue.  It dawned on me then that I hadn't taken down that stuff for a while, and my whole corner was looking kind of ugly.  So I went out and ripped off that sign and others that were taped to the four posts on my corner.

Well, the perpetrator didn't like that, confronted me, threatened to both assault and rob me, and then actually did throw a punch.  He then hopped into his getaway vehicle--the 19 bus line.  I got on after him, and informed the bus driver that I had called 911, then removed myself from the situation.  He was caught a few moments later and brought back to my house, where the helpful MPD officers walked me through my first citizen's arrest.

Since then...

...the charges were winding their way through court.  I filled out a victim's impact statement about how the assault affected me.  I offered to show up at the hearing, and was told that wouldn't be necessary.  I'm a busy guy, so I took up the city's victim/witness assistang's word on that.

(For the record, I'm not publishing the perp's name.  I made the decision because I have no desire to start an internet profile on the guy and get into that kind of dynamic here.  My case number for the assault is 27CR1427381, which in conjunction with the initials DTP is all the trail of bread crumbs anyone will get here.)

DTP skipped out on the first hearing for this trial.  I was told that a second court date would be set, and if he failed to appear there then they would issue a warrant for his arrest.  He did show up at the second hearing, and it was from that procedure that I received a notice that "the case was dismissed by the prosecutor."

Well, that was disconcerting, to say the least.  The city staff person was quite helpful, but I wish I had been given more information as to WHY the case was dismissed.  Of course I called her back right away, but had only this week gotten a call back.  (Which I appreciated greatly.)  I spent the interim wondering if the case was just plain dropped, and if so then why did they bring it in the first place?  Would DTP seek out some kind of retribution for my actions?  Was I, or my house or dog, or others around me in danger?  (Or at least more danger than usual.)

And this is the one thing that I wish I had information on with the communication pictured above.  It would have saved a lot of grief.  But the call back last week was to inform me that DTP had a series of outstanding charges against him.  He pleaded to one or more of those charges in exchange for this case and perhaps others being dropped or lessened--a common enough tactic by both prosecutors and defendants.

And that was a satisfying enough conclusion for me.  I didn't feel a need for draconian measures, nor did I want to turn this experience into some sort of feel-good kumbayah story.  ("DTP assaulted JS; JS pressed charges, but through the process they becaome friends for life."  Coming up next on this week's Lifetime TV movie event."  Nah, not for me.)  What I did want to know is that some degree of justice had been meted out; that DTP would bear some responsibility for what he did to me, and that my actions that day helped to bring that accountability to bear.

And on the days I received each notification, I went out and took down more sign spam.

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