Twitter Detective FanSince09
September 17, 2014 12:04 PM   Subscribe

FanSince09 is a Twitter celebrity. He’s known for retweeting some of the worst people on Twitter. Recently, he played detective and was able to use social media to track down some alleged Philadelphia gay bashers.
posted by josher71 (57 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
That photo in the restaurant being sent seems to have been the key here. Sounds like maybe someone from the group could have sent it?

Back when I was working tech support someone from one of our remote offices called me about a break-in they had had overnight. When I checked the browser history on their computer I found an attempt to access Facebook at 3am. Too bad it was blocked otherwise they might have logged in.
posted by ODiV at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Back when I was working tech support someone from one of our remote offices called me about a break-in they had had overnight. When I checked the browser history on their computer I found an attempt to access Facebook at 3am. Too bad it was blocked otherwise they might have logged in.

I was at the library one night when a kid got up from one of the computers, grabbed somebody's phone, and ran off. Dumbshit didn't even log out of his computer, and he was arrested about thirty minutes later in his dorm room.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:33 PM on September 17, 2014 [10 favorites]


thirty minutes later in his dorm room

This child made it to college?
posted by jsavimbi at 12:35 PM on September 17, 2014 [8 favorites]


Dumbshit didn't even log out of his computer, and he was arrested about thirty minutes later in his dorm room.
posted by Pope Guilty


I need a ruling here.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:37 PM on September 17, 2014


This is only going to get more and more common. It's a weird line people are sometimes okay with crossing — you wouldn't do this to find out the name of the person you were too nervous to approach at the bar, for instance, because obviously that's creepy. But when it's applied to a gaggle of jerks like this it's doxxing for a reason. Online vigilantism is only going to get bigger, and its growth is basically inseparable from online stalking and bullying. Complicated stuff, but we can be happy when it results in something good, and angry when it results in something bad, and hope social pressure makes the capability into a net gain.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:38 PM on September 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


That was a big group in the restaurant. It wouldn't surprise me at all if someone who was at the event but didn't participate in the hate wanted to make sure that people got caught (but didn't want to have to go on the record about anything).
posted by sparklemotion at 12:39 PM on September 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


Online vigilantism is only going to get bigger, and its growth is basically inseparable from online stalking and bullying.

I think there's a difference between "I found the guy's name out - I'm gonna post it on Twitter so everyone knows who he is so they can beat him up" and "I found the guy's name out - I'm sending my info to the Philly PD".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:49 PM on September 17, 2014 [35 favorites]


Internet detectivery worked out pretty well here, as a counterpoint to how much it backfired during the Boston Bombing thing. I think it helped that it was much more guided by the police ("Here is a video, do you know these guys?" from the police.) then just random bad dot connecting. (And also, the city was not in a state of ongoing fear and panic due to the different circumstances.)

This sort of thing should not happen anywhere, but in Center City was especially shocking to me.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:52 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


thirty minutes later in his dorm room
This child made it to college?

Getting into college takes money, not brains.
posted by headnsouth at 12:59 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is this really "online vigilanteism", though?

Gay bashing isn't a crime. It's a social transgression. The best way to make such behavior social suicide is for members of the general public to strike out against it when they see it. Doing so online after the fact is new, and you could argue that doxxing is overkill, but responding negatively to bigotry is the only way we have any chance against it.
posted by Sara C. at 1:10 PM on September 17, 2014


I think there's a difference between "I found the guy's name out - I'm gonna post it on Twitter so everyone knows who he is so they can beat him up" and "I found the guy's name out - I'm sending my info to the Philly PD".

Definitely. The difference is in what people do with the data, not how they get it, though. Both are equally possible outcomes, since what comes before is largely the same. That's why the two will mirror each other's growth. We just need to hope that we get more of the good kind than the bad kind.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:12 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gay bashing isn't a crime. It's a social transgression.


I think you meant that differently. Just for clarification, these people violently assaulted two men because they were gay.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:14 PM on September 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


Gay bashing isn't a crime.

If it's not clear, this was the literal sort of bashing and definitely a crime.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:14 PM on September 17, 2014 [12 favorites]


I Sara C. mean it isn't only a crime, but is also a social transgression.
posted by Area Man at 1:16 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in this particular case, what happened was a crime (a few different crimes, from what it sounds like). I maaaaaaay have commented before reading all the facts of the sitaution.

But if one is talking about online "vigilanteism" in general in situations like this, eh. Homophobia isn't cool. If you see people harassing people in public, sure, yeah, figure out who they are and publicly shame them.
posted by Sara C. at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2014


Area Man: "I [think] Sara C. mean[t] it isn't only a crime, but is also a social transgression."

+1. And further, prosecution of the crime by the police is not mutually exclusive with ostracizing anti-social individuals. Lots of Philadelphians have now seen these people's faces; I can only hope that they are now in hot water with some of their friends, family, bosses, neighbors, etc.
posted by dendrochronologizer at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


I sort of got a kick out of the description of the attackers as "Clean cut and well dressed."

Very clearly not thugs.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:21 PM on September 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


We just need to hope that we get more of the good kind than the bad kind.

We also need to hope (and vote) that the police we have are the sort that makes this sort of action "the good kind".

"Clean cut and well dressed."

Clearly they missed the dude in the red vest or whatever that is.
posted by ODiV at 1:24 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Clearly they missed the dude in the red vest or whatever that is.

What could possibly go wrong?
posted by Drinky Die at 1:29 PM on September 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


This is the plus side of universal surveillance. Yes, we have a lot of work to do, to insure that government and corporations are forced into full transparency re: surveillance. That said, I would like to see cameras working on every corner of every municipality in America, with full control by citizens about how the information obtained from those cameras is used.

Transparency is key.

About this "catch"; I hope the assholes who perpetrated this crime do jail time - every one of them.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:30 PM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


How amusing, I just heard this story on French radio.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:31 PM on September 17, 2014


Wrt to jail time....Seriously. I read the one victim had a broken eye socket and had to have his jaw wired shut for a few days.

This was not a drunk scuffle where some people bump into each other on the sidewalk, yell drunkenly, and then keep going. This was a physical violent attack.
posted by sio42 at 1:33 PM on September 17, 2014 [8 favorites]


As far as I've heard, they have retained lawyers and are negotiating the terms of turning themselves in. That was a couple of hours ago.

It's time ladies and gentlemen. All of you. Even the ones that "just watched." If you don't turn yourself in, law enforcement needs to go get them ASAP.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:37 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interview with the victims:

http://articles.philly.com/2014-09-16/news/53988635_1_two-men-victims-boyfriend

"Cops took the men to Hahnemann University Hospital. They later told the victims that so much blood had been spilled on the sidewalk that they initially thought someone had been shot.

"This is downtown Philly," one of the men said. "This shouldn't happen here.

"When they jumped us, I kept screaming, 'This is 2014, you can't do this!' "

That man walked away with bruises to his face and a swollen left eye. His partner wasn't so lucky: The attackers fractured several bones in his face, including his right orbital bone.

Doctors wired his shattered jaw shut, and told him yesterday, as he was being released from Hahnemann, that it will stay that way for eight weeks."


These assholes are lucky they didn't kill anyone. Hopefully the judge hits them with the max penalties possible.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


Would the attackers have to pay for hospital expenses and stuff if found guilty? Or do they just get the penalty the law imposes and then the victims have to sue them for the damages? Is that how this works? Seems weird tho. I mean, if you put someone in the hospital, you should have to literally pay for it without them having to do anything else, but IANAL and not sure if my understanding is correct.
posted by sio42 at 1:58 PM on September 17, 2014


Would the attackers have to pay for hospital expenses and stuff if found guilty?

I'm hoping someone from Pennsylvania will weigh in and explain how things work there, but as a general matter restitution to the victims can be made a part of a criminal sentence. Since most criminal matters are resolved through plea bargains, whether or not restitution is a part of a sentence often depends on whether prosecutors insist on it during plea negotiations.
posted by Area Man at 2:13 PM on September 17, 2014


Wonder if they'll get off on an "affluent" defense, since clearly none of the attackers were homeless or poverty-stricken. The other obvious thing of note is that all are white, which is another reason they'll get off easy.

I'd be interested to know the connection between these people, whether they're coworkers or members of a club of young professionals or what. Sure tweaks the term "gangbangers" a bit, doesn't it?

I wish that just once justice would be done and the persons (men and women) who actually took part in this assault would go to jail - and stay there for a few years - and lose their source of income, their social status, their future, coming out of jail/prison as just another ex-con.

Yeah, I wish.
posted by aryma at 4:30 PM on September 17, 2014


(Self link) I interviewed FanSince09 this afternoon. You can listen to it here.
posted by Alex Goldman at 5:16 PM on September 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


They're claiming "self-defense" apparently.

Multiple sources have tipped us off that the still-unidentified alleged assailants in last week’s attack at 16th and Chancellor streets are claiming self-defense. Caryn Kunkle, a source close to the victims who originally publicized the story, shared the following message on her Instagram feed:

Hate Crime update: the group of 15 genius kids who attacked two unarmed and non-PDA gay men on their way out for pizza on Sept. 11th at 10:45pm in the Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia are claiming “SELF DEFENSE.” Probably because the insanity defense was clearly unavailable….. Since when does collectively pounding someone’s face into the concrete while audibly and repeatedly shouting “dirty faggot” qualify

I reached out to her to ask how the victims were taking this development, and she told me that “the District Attorney prepared the boys for that. It would be pretty much the only attempt at an excuse they could possibly try. However, it was very clear that the group asked if they were dating before the assault began, and they verbally assaulted them before and during the time they were beating them. I don’t think self defense will stick for long. Every witness refutes their claim.”

posted by longdaysjourney at 6:40 PM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


"As far as I've heard, they have retained lawyers and are negotiating the terms of turning themselves in. That was a couple of hours ago."

Fuck that. These clowns committed a violent hate crime, a felonious assault resulting in serious injury. I don't care how clean cut they are: they need to be arrested, handcuffed and marched out of whatever little suburban enclave they hail from. Now, not whenever it is convenient for them and their attorneys.
posted by cedar at 6:41 PM on September 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't like how this is going down since the suspects were identified. According to a local reporter:
Just in: Hate crimes come with some hefty, serious punishments. But Action News has confirmed in PA..sexual orientation is not on the list of hate crimes so DA's office says suspected Center City gay bashers won't be prosecuted under current hate crime laws. #PALegislature . . . Some history: Here’s info from the LGBT task force: Pennsylvania passed a hate crime law in 2002 that covered LGBT people,[10] but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck it down in 2008 on a technicality: legislators inserted the language into an unrelated bill on agricultural terrorism, changing that bill's purpose during the legislative process, which violates the Pennsylvania Constitution.[11] Legislation was introduced in March 2009 to reinstate the law, but it did not make it out of committee
posted by gladly at 6:54 PM on September 17, 2014


What the fuck is "non-PDA"
posted by boo_radley at 7:21 PM on September 17, 2014


Non- "Public Display of Affection"

Not that it should matter, but it does in prosecutions of "gay panic" crimes.


I want to see a DA put each and every one of these fuckers on the stand and ask them about their steroid use.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:51 PM on September 17, 2014


I want to see a DA put each and every one of these fuckers on the stand and ask them about their steroid use.

I hear you, I really do, but you really, really, REALLY don't want the DA to ask them about this. Because to do so would be to give them an out. Ask about their moral failings, ask about their propensity for violence, ask about their lack of compassion, but do not, under any circumstances, ask them about chemicals which might somehow mitigate some of the blame which should rest on the shoulders of these overstuffed, criminal meatsacks.
posted by aureliobuendia at 8:15 PM on September 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


Here's more

It bothers me that these perps are coming in on their own terms. What the hell! Go out and arrest these assholes; cuff them; make them do the perp walk. Lets see their faces!
posted by Vibrissae at 9:02 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


It bothers me that these perps are coming in on their own terms.

Well, it says "Late Tuesday night, Action News has learned attorneys for some members of the group have called police. They are making arrangements to bring their clients in for questioning on Wednesday." Maybe they're playing nice for now to get the folks who weren't directly involved in the actual beating to testify against the others in exchange for immunity from prosecution?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:11 PM on September 17, 2014


I was at the library one night when a kid got up from one of the computers, grabbed somebody's phone, and ran off. Dumbshit didn't even log out of his computer, and he was arrested about thirty minutes later in his dorm room.

Go IU!!
posted by hal_c_on at 11:26 PM on September 17, 2014


Given what I've read on other news sites I am really grateful for the comments here so far. It is heartening that there is at least one place where, if something like this happened to me, people would not be falling all over themselves to try to figure out a way to blame me for it (actual things I've read, paraphrased: the victims must have thrown the first punch and attacked one of the women; this almost certainly wasn't actually motivated by homophobia but by something unrelated; shouldn't we wait until all the facts are in before believing the victim's story because so many gay bashings turn out to be faked; these kids look like normal white kids so I don't believe for a second they are the perps; etc., etc.).
posted by en forme de poire at 11:27 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


This probably won't be classified as a hate crime under PA law, given the comment not too far above this one. But it is still assault and is still pretty serious.

Although if any of the perpetrators came from out of state, those can be prosecuted under Federal Hate Crime legislation.
posted by hippybear at 12:59 AM on September 18, 2014


shouldn't we wait until all the facts are in before believing the victim's story because so many gay bashings turn out to be faked

I know you're just quoting something you read someplace else so this isn't actually your comment... but seriously? "so many gay bashings turn out to be faked"???

I haven't been actually beaten for being gay, but I've had bottles thrown out of moving vehicles at me while exiting a gay bar, I've had people (three of them) chase me through a parking lot with baseball bats (I got into an open store and they didn't follow me in, and I got out through the back), I've had friends who had intruders come into their homes in the middle of the night and beat them nearly to death, I've had friends pretty severely attacked on sidewalks (although never as bad as this incident)...

I've also been spit on, shunned at restaurants by serving staff, asked directly to leave restaurants and stores by employees, kicked out of movie theaters... None of these were "PDA events"... I was just there with a guy who, despite lack of public contact, I was obviously there "with".

Who makes this kind of stuff up? Who fakes a gay bashing? Do people actually show up at hospitals with self-inflicted injuries claiming to have been gay bashed?
posted by hippybear at 1:41 AM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I had read that as sarcasm, Hippybear.
posted by tinkletown at 2:53 AM on September 18, 2014


Tinkletown, actually en forme de polite was quoting actual comments on other sites and hippybear was marveling at one of those comments.

So it wasn't sarcasm. Sadly. But nor was it the opinion of anyone here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:43 AM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]




The coach, identified by a source close to the team as Fran McGlinn, had been "serving as a coach on a contract basis," said Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

McGlinn, 25, along with several other former Wood students, allegedly participated in the attack on a gay couple as the men were walking near Rittenhouse Square.


*sigh*. For some reason the Catholic message of love and tolerance didn't seem to sink in when it comes to gay people. How could that have possibly happened?

I'm not surprised suburban idiots had a role in this. As Atrios puts it, they see the city as an playgroud and not a neighborhood.

/suburban Philly idiot myself.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:36 AM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


This probably won't be classified as a hate crime under PA law, given the comment not too far above this one. But it is still assault and is still pretty serious.

I saw it mentioned elsewhere that because the attackers also stole belongings (credit cards and a phone, I think) from one of the victims, assault + robbery makes it even more serious in terms of potential penalties.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:45 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw it mentioned elsewhere that because the attackers also stole belongings (credit cards and a phone, I think) from one of the victims, assault + robbery makes it even more serious in terms of potential penalties.

Could someone not argue that the stealing of belongings was a simple crime of opportunity after the planned hate-crime assault took place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2014


Years ago--as in like, twenty years ago--a friend of mine was bashed so severely he was in a coma for a week.

The four (!) boys all went to jail. He had their release dates marked on a calendar and is still, however many years later, terrified that one of them is going to find him somehow. Nothing is listed in his name, it's all in his partner's name, but he's still scared all the time.

I hope these animals rot in prison.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:18 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]



Could someone not argue that the stealing of belongings was a simple crime of opportunity after the planned hate-crime assault took place?

Confused on what that matters. Can you explain?
posted by josher71 at 9:22 AM on September 18, 2014


Confused on what that matters. Can you explain?

The argument was that someone could say "oh, look, they took the guys' wallets. That proves it was just a robbery!"

My counter-argument is that you could also argue that it was a gay bashing where one of the culprits took the wallets as an afterthought because "hell, they can't fight back now that we beat the shit out of them so I'll take these as a bonus."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:33 AM on September 18, 2014


IANAL, but my sense is that if the robbery was predicated on the victim being incapacitated first, it would make things worse for the culprit.
posted by rhizome at 10:30 AM on September 18, 2014


Robbing the victim afterwards also hurts any attempt to make a self-defense claim, which is about the only way the attackers could hope to get out of this. "Those two unarmed guys were menacing our group of fifteen people!" sounds even more ridiculous on its face when the story ends with "...and so then we stole their credit cards and left."
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:53 AM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Per Philly.com:

Meanwhile Wednesday, police sources told the Daily News that at least a few of the alleged assailants had been interviewed by investigators.

Some of those "persons of interest" were seen walking into the Central Detective Division late last night with their lawyers.

No arrests had been made in the case as of last night.

posted by Sophie1 at 7:25 AM on September 19, 2014


From Philadelphia Gay News, via Joe.My.God.:
A police source said this week that they were nearly "ready to go" in terms of making arrests and said charges are expected "this week." A key witness, the source said, was due in for an interview Monday, "the girl who was right in the middle of it all." After that, the source said, the District Attorney's Office will review all of the evidence collected in the case and make a decision about charges. "People are going to get locked up," the source said.
And:
As of Monday morning, police had completed 18 interviews with members of the group and witnesses. Each interview, the source said, takes about four hours. Prolonging the process, the source added, is that each person in the group has retained a separate, private attorney. "What happens with cases like this is that, if you rush it and don't do a good job, they'll start throwing out charges later on. These kids all have top-notch attorneys, so if our case isn't put together on our end, they're going to pick it apart. But we've put together a great case for the DA and we'll be working in conjunction with the DA to bring the charges."
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]




Action News has confirmed suspect Kathryn Knott is the daughter of Chalfont, Bucks County Police Chief Karl Knott.

At their Southampton home, no one answered but when we asked several neighbors about the charges against Knott, off camera, they would only say they're not surprised.


That's gonna leave a mark.
posted by rhizome at 7:53 PM on September 23, 2014 [4 favorites]




Aggravated Assault and HIPAA violations on Twitter.

She seems like a real catch.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:28 AM on September 25, 2014


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