Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The video saw what they "didn't"

Police in St Paul MN. responded Tuesday, August 28 2007 to a call of drunken behavior and discovered far more than that. When they arrived, they found a woman lying unconscious in the hallway and the suspect claiming he was innocent.

Rage Ibrahim, 26, states that he is innocent and it was all a misunderstanding, according to Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center. The woman had been found unconscious in a hallway with her dress pulled up, fresh scratches on her face and blood on her thigh. Ibrahim states that he did not assualt the woman, adding that if he had wanted to do that, he could have done it in the apartment.

The woman was visiting the apartment of a friend where she met Ibrahim. They drank for several hours but when she went to leave, she stated that Ibrahim tried to stop her and began assaulting her. What happened to the woman in the hallway was caught on surveillance video.

"If you're not comfortable, if you don't feel capable of intervening, that's fine. But not calling is not understandable," stated police spokesman Tom Walsh.

Authories found more than a record of the woman's attack on video, it captured at least 10 witnesses ignoring the woman's cries for help during the aproximately 90 minutes Ibrahim beat and sexually assaulted her. It clearly showed men and women looking out of their apartment doors or starting to walk down the hallway before retreating during the attack. They stated that it clearly showed one woman looking out her door three times during the attack.

"It shows another person walking up, observing what was going on, then turning and putting up the hood of his sweatshirt," stated Walsh.

At one point, the 26 year-old woman knocked on an apartment door and yelled to the residents to call police. A man inside that apartment claimed that he had not looked out but the video showed him looking out. He claimed that he had placed a call to 911, a call which police have no record of.

Minnesota has a Good Samaritan law that makes it a petty misdemeanor not to give reasonable help to a person who is in danger of "grave physical harm." Authorities have stated that they were shocked by the behavior of the bystanders. They, as well as I feel, if you aren't comfortable intervening in a situation, that is understandable..... but to not pick up the phone and call the police?

Jamal, who has spoken on Ibrahim's behalf, stated that he had gone into the hallway because he felt the woman was too drunk to drive. Ibrahim and her struggled over the car keys and that the police report doesn't state the true facts of what happened that evening. Jamal added that Ibrahim said that he did not rape the woman, it was all a huge misunderstanding.

Police identified Ibrahim from the surveillance video and he is charged with several counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. As for the 10 people who were shown to have observed the attack and did nothing, they probably won't be prosecuted by police.

I don't see any excuse they could have for not calling the police, not with the attack going on for some 90 minutes. Thye may not face any charges for their inaction but I do hope that they lose some sleep wondering..... if they are in the same situation or worse, will their neighbors be as "helpful."

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