|Ray Widstrand (borrowed from his Facebook photos)|
Last Sunday night (August 4, 2013), 26 year old Ray Widstrand was attacked when he attempted to walk through a large group (reports of 30-50 people) of kids and adults involved in what appears to have been a gang fight on St. Paul, Minnesota's Eastside. According to reports, Ray was knocked down, stomped on, kicked; his pants were ripped off so the participants could go through his pockets and steal his possessions and money. He was then left on the street when the thugs heard sirens and dispersed. According to The Pioneer Press:
Police found Widstrand lying on the ground, bleeding from his nose and mouth, his pants removed and shirt torn, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Ramsey County attorney's office.
A witness said someone struck Widstrand in the head and knocked him to the ground; she said she saw blood coming from his head.
The witness said a second man then hit and stomped on Widstrand. A third man removed his pants.
The witness said the man was hit and beaten for no reason.
A second witness said Widstrand was assaulted when he walked into the area. When Widstrand went down, a "whole bunch of little East Side Boys" began to kick him, the complaint said.
When his pants were removed, they went through his pockets.
The second witness said the first person to hit Widstrand did it with a can in a sock. She tried to protect the man from people kicking and stomping him, while another witness said someone at the scene tried to use Mace to stop the attack, the complaint said.
A third witness identified Maiden as a man who stomped on Widstrand, based on a photo taken at the scene, the complaint said.
Three juvenile males and an adult male have been arrested in relation to this brutal assault and robbery. The adult male is a 19 year old named Isaac Maiden.
According to the criminal complaint, Isaac Maiden has been charged with four felony counts, including aggravated assault and crime committed for the benefit of a gang.
While Isaac Maiden was in court yesterday (Friday, August 9, 2013), Ray Widstrand was fighting for his life at Regions Hospital in St. Paul:
"He's in the most difficult time right now, as far as swelling and cranial pressure. We're in that critical time," his father, Peter Widstrand, said. (Pioneer Press)
Ray Widstrand is a 26 year old producer for Suburban Community Channels and a graduate of Irondale High School. A quick search revealed more than just those two items - Ray Widstrand is obviously a lover of comics, has a great sense of humor and is well-loved by his friends. He also is an aspiring producer of films, as shown by the videos uploaded to his YouTube channel.
A few photos from his Facebook page:
And finally, this photo captioned with: "It takes a certain kind of man to rock a poncho. Ask Clint Eastwood.
It takes a certain kind of man to rock a poncho with a giant stuffed banana with dreadlocks. Ask me."
Will there be justice for Ray Widstrand? Where are the people out yelling about this being a "hate crime"? This young man was out for a walk in his neighborhood - a place, according to his father, in which he was excited to be living. Unfortunately, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - or that is how it will be portrayed by the media - and was attacked. But why should he have had to worry about being attacked? He wasn't part of the gangs and their fight. He was brutally attacked, his pants ripped off so his attackers could ROB HIM and then left bleeding in the street. A few good people tried to stop his beating by Macing his attackers but being MACED didn't make them quit. Blood thirsty and angry, they beat him until he passed out. Now his brain is swelling and chances are high that he will die.
Some people say that Trayvon Martin was in the wrong place at the wrong time, walking home with Skittles and an iced tea when he decided to confront George Zimmerman by punching him in the nose. Some people accuse George Zimmerman of profiling Trayvon Martin and "wanting" to kill him because Zimmerman was a racist. The outrage over the Zimmerman acquittal bled into riots and protests across the country.
In this case, Ray Widstrand was truly minding his own business. By all reports, he did not confront his attackers by breaking their noses: he was out for a walk and was brutally attacked. Where is the outrage? Where are the protests? Or will we see no outrage because the man in the coma is part of the most hated of all American groups: a young, employed, white male? If this man dies from his injuries, will there be protests and cries of justice for his attackers? Or will the incident pass all but his family by as just another moment of violence in our increasingly violent world?
Please pray for Ray Widstrand and his family.