Terry Rawls is seen here on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Rawls was arrested in the beating of Matthew Owens 4 days earlier. (Press-Register/Victor Calhoun)
Matthew Owens’ sister told the DC on Wednesday that the attack on her brother was sparked by theft and not a basketball game. Police say at least three neighbors participated in the vicious beating.
The Daily Caller reported:
The sister of a white Mobile, Alabama man who suffered severe head trauma during a beating by approximately 20 black neighbors on Saturday spoke exclusively to The Daily Caller, saying that the incident started after one of her children witnessed some of the eventual assailants stealing an item from a neighbor’s porch — not, as some media outlets have reported, following a disagreement about a pick-up basketball game in the street.
Ashley Parker, whose brother Matthew Owens is clinging to life after the assault, said Owens was attacked after her 21-year-old daughter witnessed a group of African-American youth moving from yard to yard in the neighborhood and taking something that didn’t belong to them. She told Owens, who confronted the youths.
She “saw one of them take something off a porch,” Parker said, “and that is when Matthew approached them and told them they need to go home.”
The group returned with more than a dozen others, she said, beating Owens with bats, brass knuckles, a chair, a paint can and other objects. The attack left him bloodied and unconscious.
Parker has since reinforced her account about petty theft precipitating the incident, telling the same version of events to a Facebook group that was started to support her brother.
She said she is “scared to death” and plans to move out of the neighborhood this week.
“I don’t feel safe here anymore,” she told TheDC. “My brother is being smeared. … I know how this works now. The victim always ends up the bad guy. I have lost faith in humanity because of this.”
Her children, she said, “witnessed their uncle being beaten half to death. Now my children are afraid. I will not live like this.”
She is also concerned that her home address is being distributed on Twitter.
One man, 44-year-old Terry Rawls, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree assault in the case, WKRG-TV5 in Mobile reported. Deputy Police Chief Lester Hargrove said investigators now believe only four people were involved in the beating, with the rest of the group standing and watching.
In a stunning development on Tuesday, WKRG released raw footage of an African-American woman who lives on the street where the beating occurred exclaiming that Owens, not the mob, was at fault. She yelled her protest in the direction of correspondent Lauren Vargas and her cameraman as they prepared to shoot a news segment.
The woman, who did not identify herself, said that police had to be called “every weekend” because “Mr. Owens was swinging … knives out here in front of these kids.” She also alleged that he was “bipolar” and “he drinks.”
She also accused Owens of being a racist: “The kids’ ball just went up here in his yard,” she yelled, “and he started cussing, like calling them ‘niggers.’ How would you like for your kids to be called ‘niggers’ all the time?”
WKRG reported Wednesday after Rawls’ arrest that he lives in the same house as the woman who accused Owens, on-camera, of being a racist.