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article imagePolice chief's daughter among trio charged in gay bashing attack

By Megan Hamilton     Sep 26, 2014 in Crime
Philadelphia - Three people who stand accused of brutally attacking a gay couple in downtown Philadelphia have turned themselves in and were arraigned last Wednesday on charges of aggravated assault, The Washington Post reports.
In the Sept.11, attack, one of the men was beaten so badly that he had to have his jaw wired shut and undergo surgery for fractures and deep lacerations to his face, the Post reports. The victims are 28 and 27 years old. Both were hospitalized due to the extent of their injuries. Their names haven't been released by police.
The suspects — Philip R. Williams, 24; Kathryn G. Knot, 24; and Kevin J. Harrigan, 26 stand accused of beating two gay men in an attack that started out when the trio began hurling homophobic slurs at the men in downtown Philadelphia. The three have been charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.
Police say that the suspects allegedly beat the men in the head and chest while holding them down. They also made comments about the men's sexual orientation, police said, per the Post. One of the victims dropped a bag containing his cellphone, wallet, and credit cards. When police approached the suspects, one of them grabbed the bag and took off with it.
Lawyers for the suspects say this incident wasn't motivated by sexual orientation, per the Associated Press.
"In no way, shape or form was this incident related to anyone's sexual orientation," Williams's attorney, Fortunato Perri, Jr., told the AP. "This was a mutual confrontation that started because two individuals got into an argument out in the street."
Louis Busico, the attorney for Kathryn Knott, denied that the attack was motivated by homophobia. He also denied that his client yelled insults or threw any punches.
"Ms. Knott is absolutely not homophobic and she didn't utter any slur to anyone, whatsoever," he said. "We don't deny that there was a gentleman who was assaulted. We don't deny that this gentleman was injured. But I unequivocally deny that my client did anything to hurt this man; she wouldn't hurt anybody."
While his assertions may be valid, these tweets — from 2012 — tell a different story:
The tweets allegedly made by Kathryn G. Knott.
The tweets allegedly made by Kathryn G. Knott.
Knott, who is the daughter of Karl Knott, a suburban Philadelphia police chief, has also recently been suspended from her job as an emergency room technician at Lansdale Hospital, where she is under investigation for possible violations of patient privacy, Salon reports. Knott has tweeted things like "Ya know when u [sic] put a hotdog in the microwave too long?" to describe patients, and has posted photos of severed fingers and X-rays of pelvises, and she's being investigated under the Health Insurance Portability and accountability Act of 1996.
The case shot to national attention on the social media when police posted a video of the suspects and online followers hopped onto media sites to help identify them, the AP reports.
In announcing the charges Tuesday, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said that "an assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia," per the AP.
As it is now, Pennsylvania's hate-crimes law doesn't cover crimes motivated by someone's sexual orientation, and some are saying that this needs to change. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) say that this case shows that the law needs to change. If indeed this recent assault is found to have occurred because of the victim's sexual orientation, it's entirely clear that this law does, in fact, need to change.
More about police chief's daughter charged, three charged in assault, Washington post, saloncom, twittercom
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