And today in thoroughly depressing news — because we needed more of it, apparently — police are looking for rioters in Columbus, Ohio, who attacked a 58-year-old man with cerebral palsy.
In a series of social media postings, the Columbus Division of Police with information about the rioters who attacked Eldon Hawkins on May 31 to come forward.
Columbus Police Looking For Persons Of Interest Involving Victim With CP Who Was Attacked During Riots – 5/31/20
Anyone info contact Det. Nace at 614-645-2119 or email@example.com or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477
— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) July 8, 2020
Police also posted a three-minute composite video of the attack on YouTube.
As the clip begins, Hawkins’ car is being blocked by protesters and rioters. He reverses at slow speed and ends up hitting someone on a bike with his rear bumper. Sadly (yet predictably), things got ugly from there.
“They threw a bicycle on my windshield and started kicking my doors and windows. It scared the life out of me,” Hawkins said at a Monday Columbus City Council meeting, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language and violent images that some viewers will find disturbing:
Rioters even ransacked his trunk, littering the street with flowers that had been in the back of the car. Thankfully, Hawkins said, there were “some nice people who came and pulled me out of the car” before anything worse could happen to him.
Some in the crowd eventually managed to talk sense into the people destroying his vehicle, although not until after the Buick had sustained more than $8,000 in damage.
Eldon Hawkins car was smashed out on May 31st. He drove through Broad and High and unknowingly drive into a crowd of protesters. @ColumbusPolice are asking for help if you have any information. pic.twitter.com/Qo2fX7rG2f
— Lacey Crisp (@LaceyCrisp) July 9, 2020
Don’t think the problems stopped there, however. According to WSYX-TV, rioters also attacked those who were trying to help.
Witness Phillip Hurst, meanwhile, said that Hawkins was attacked until people realized he had cerebral palsy.
“Reacted with a lot of anger and hate until soon after they realized this gentleman is handicapped,” Hurst told WBNS-TV.
“I saw a mix of both destroying and a mix of both helping,” Hurst said, adding that Hawkins “accidentally struck, and I emphasize accidentally struck” the biker.
“It’s one thing to protest, but when people start breaking windows and spray-painting the F-word, that’s turning this beautiful city into a dive,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said he’s protested before — his father was a union man and he marched with him at the Ohio Statehouse in solidarity with first responders unions.
“We did not break one window, and we did not spray-paint foul language, because this is our city,” Hawkins said. “If troublemakers don’t like it, they can leave.”
Well, that’s not how it works nowadays. Troublemakers are encouraged.
Remember, damage to property really isn’t violence.
So what that Hawkins’ car needed $8,000 of work. I mean, they eventually stopped attacking him, right? Everything should be fine.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a guy who drove through rioters and protesters or meant to hit them. We don’t even know why he reversed. Perhaps he was flustered, perhaps it was a function of the cerebral palsy.
What is clear is that he doesn’t seem to be suspected of doing anything wrong.
There’s also the sick irony here. The protests-turned-riots that week were all supposed to be about police brutality.
I don’t think attacking anyone like this is called for, much less someone with cerebral palsy, a sentiment with which most sane people would likely agree. Only a few were actually willing to do something about it, however — and they were apparently attacked.
At least in this corner of Columbus, the focus on ending brutality seemed to be lost.
It’s stomach-churning to watch this video and look at how many were willing to participate in this violence, how many were willing to avert their gaze and how few intervened to put a stop to it.
Many people were out to protest what they perceived as grave injustice. When injustice happened right in front of their faces, however, they were far more reluctant to raise their voice or spring into action.
CORRECTION, July 13, 2020: When originally published, this article’s headline referred to Hawkins’ attackers as “leftists” without the evidence to support that claim. The headline has been updated to more accurately describe those who attacked him. We apologize to our readers for the error, and for any confusion we may have caused.
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