Police in Charlottesville, Virginia have arrested two suspects they say assaulted a man and woman at a mall.
Malcolm James Stevenson, 25, and Richard Bernard Spears, 23, have both been charged with assault after turning themselves for attacking the couple. The incident happened on December 20th when police received a call that a man was unconscious outside of a restaurant at the local mall. Jeanne Doucette told police that she and Marc Adams were walking along the mall when he suddenly tripped and fell to the ground. The suspects, who witnessed the fall, started to laugh, an argument broke out, and that’s when the assault occurred. By the time police got there, the suspects had fled.
The case got some attention after Doucette was able to take some pictures of the attackers and post them on Facebook. Various reports claim that police didn’t take enough action immediately following the attack and even failed to assign an investigator to the case. Charlottesville Police Department eventually owned up to their mistake.
"Nothing was taken,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo. “No evidence by statement either by victim, suspect, or independent witnesses, that that was ever part of what took place. Again not to minimize, what begins as a verbal confrontation ends in some type of physical escalation and, frankly, that happens from time to time on the mall, particularly when alcohol is in the mix, which may have played a part of this.”
Lieutenant Ronnie Roberts blames the breakdown on timing, among other factors.
"The breakdown would've been where we needed the investigators to move into it, because he's working the midnight shift, and a lot of the activity and the communications would've been required during the daytime," said Roberts "So, therefore this morning when the chief arrived this morning the first thing that was taken care of was to reassign the case to two detectives."
There are reports claiming that the attack was a part of the “knockout game,” but the circumstances of the assault show that is likely not the case.