Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jaw Breaking and The Star Spangled Banner

An a cappella group from Yale, on a between-semester tour on the West Coast, was attacked after singing our national anthem at a private party on New Year’s Eve.

Fox News reports:

The Bakers Dozen Before The Beating
Members of the Baker’s Dozen a cappella singing group were visiting San Francisco as part of their winter tour. The students attended a party hosted by the daughter of Reno Rapagnani, a retired lawyer for the San Francisco Police Department, at his house.

The men had just sung the “Star Spangled Banner,” according to the father of one of the singers, when they prepared to leave.

But then, a group of uninvited guests then became hostile, according to Whitney Leigh, lawyer for several of the singers. Those guests, who were not provoked, Leigh said, then called for back-up.

The singers were leaving the party when they were attacked by 15 to 20 people as they got out of their vehicles. The alleged assailants had been called to the party “with the purpose of attacking these men,” Leigh said.

It would seem that in addition to its other lunacies, San Francisco is definitely a no-go area for anyone wishing to sing patriotic songs — even in the privacy of someone’s home.
- — - — - — - — - -
What makes the story creepier is the failure — so far — of the authorities to charge anyone with felony assault. This despite the fact that one member had his jaw broken in two places, and the additional fact that four attackers were detained by the police at the time:

Sharyar Aziz, the father of the worst injured singer, Sharyar Aziz Jr., said his son’s jaw was broken in two places.

“The doctors’ reports suggest his jaw was broken by a blunt instrument or someone well trained as a fighter,” the elder Aziz said.

His son was [un]able to comment because his jaw was wired shut after having reconstructive surgery, placing two metal places on his jaw that would stay there forever, his father said.

Besides Aziz’ jaw being broken, several kids walked away with black eyes and bruises covering their bodies, his father said.

The police were called and broke up the fight and detained four suspected. However, no arrests were made that evening, and have yet to be made more than 10 days after the incident, according to Aziz.

There is local outrage, and much speculation, as to why the prosecutors have failed to issue warrants:

Local news reports speculate that no arrests have been made because the main suspect in the attack is reportedly the son of a prominent local physician.

“I don’t want to speculate as to why [an arrest hasn’t been made.] I do know that in my 20 years as a criminal defense attorney, I don’t recall an incident in which a brutal attack on multiple people would result with a quick detention and release,” Leigh said.

We all know there are several tiers of “justice” — such inequalities persist in every society that has ever existed. In fact, I’ve often suspected that Justice wears a blindfold so she won’t have to see the miscarriages issued in her name.

This one is particularly egregious. On the other hand, they’re up against Yale, which is known for protecting its own.

Wouldn’t you love to know why this isn’t being pursued? Who owes whom? Who is running for what office? Just a few questions to start the debate.

Meanwhile, in the loud silence from the legal beagles in San Francisco, can you hear the echoes of the persecution of those athletes at Duke? Obviously none of them had a “prominent local physician” as one of their daddies.

Looks like it’s time to call on San Francisco’s congressional representative to get things rolling. Let’s see, that’s…oh, right: the “most powerful woman in America.” Calling Grandmother Pelosi, calling Nancy P: there’s a mess back home you need to attend to as promptly as possible. Otherwise, some of the stains may end up on your skirt.

Here’s her contact information:

Email address:

Her note says that “the rules of Congressional courtesy prevent Rep. Pelosi from replying to emails if she cannot determine that you are a constituent.” But then, you don’t need her to reply. You just need your national Speaker of the House to use part of her one hundred hours to bring a little justice back home.

Here’s her local office contact information:

450 Golden Gate Ave., 14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 556-4862

(My word, the speaker has a whole floor to herself… well, of course, it is only fitting that the most powerful woman in America needs this kind of elbow room.) Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be a fax available.

Remember, if you write her office, be civil. Same goes for email — who needs a response anyway? Be daring and use email even if you’re not a local constituent. You might remind her, of course, that as Speaker of the House, she has a national obligation.

And if you should decide to call, why not try singing our — and her — national anthem. Just for fun.

And for justice for those boys in The Bakers Dozen. According to their website, the most seriously injured boy, Sharyar Aziz, was a freshman who’d only begun singing with them in October.

Cheer them up and go to the website to purchase one of their CDs. The second one down on the shopping page has their version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

If you’re in ’Frisco, play it real loud.


Panday said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bobby Coggins said...

People need to wake up, for the 5th Column has become 5 columns, and is growing everyday.

I am convinced only grassroots efforts can turn this thing around, if at all.

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

The things I have read suggest that the main perp was jealous of the boys, and was baiting them during the party. They tried to blow him off--but he got to the point where the hostess's father told him to leave.

I think this was on the SF abc tv site and in some of the comments--or I'd provide a link.

If true, it sounds more like a reaction to public humiliation than to a patriotic song.

Aaron said...

Dympha seems to think that the attackers from oh so rediculously liberal San Francisco were angry because of a patriotic song and therefore, like every loony in SF, hates the US. I don't think you read the news stories.

The attacker who started the fight and some of the kids who showed up in the van to fight were (allegedly) Catholic students at a prestigous SF school called Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. The articles about the fight say that partygoers said the attacker was shouting "faggot" and other homosexual slurs during the performance.

So the response from this student who represents a gay-hating conservative bastion in SF was to call up his other homophobic buddies to kick some ass.

Dympha's need to bash liberal SF politics should actually be directed at a homophobic Catholic institution.

I live in SF and I am appalled by this incident. I am more appalled at the response from Stephen Renico who is wishing that my city is the next terrorist target because he doesn't like Pelosi or some such bullcrap like that. You may not like loony SF politics (and it is rediculous) but you just wished death on my family and 8 million people who live in the greater Bay Area, not to mention an economy that is bigger than Nebraska and South Carolina combined. This blog post and Renico's comment is the most anti-American thing I've read in weeks.

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

"The articles about the fight say that partygoers said the attacker was shouting "faggot" and other homosexual slurs during the performance."

Do you remember which story that was in? I'd like to read it because it sounds like a more detailed version. The story I read didn't talk about the perp yelling things DURING the performance.

Dymphna said...

Several things about the comment thread:

(1) the first comment is way out of line. No one can comment here and wish death on a city because of its politics, however much he or she may disagree with them. What are you, a Jerry Falwell clone?

(2) The homo-bashing rich Catholic school boys sounds all too familiar. I grew up with that. It wasn't in the story and I will amend with an update when I have a chance to do some more searching.

(3) I still want to know why no one has been charged with this FELONY.

(4) I don't recall reading that there was anything yelled during the performance. What I read was that two uninvited gate crashers didn't like what the group was singing and used their cellphones to call in a goon squad of like-minded bullies.

(5) It seems that jealousy and fear were the driving factors in this situation. It was, and is, appalling.

BTW, in an added irony, the most seriously injured boy is probably of Lebanese Catholic heritage based on his name.

Brotherly love....

UPDATE on the post after my doctor
visit and some research.

Aaron said...

From Matier & Ross:

"A couple of uninvited guests started mocking them, and allegedly the words "faggot" and "homo" were tossed -- and so were a couple of punches."


"Relatives of some of the victims complained that police moved slowly to investigate the case, which began when uninvited party guests heckled the all-male a cappella singing group and reportedly hurled homophobic slurs at the home of a San Francisco police sergeant and her husband, a retired member of the department."


Panday said...

My apologies to Dymphna and Aaron.

No, I'm not a Falwell, and, no, I explicitly said that I wasn't wishing for such a catastrophe to happen.

Between the antics of Willie Brown and Gavin Newsome, the nixing of the JROTC program, and nearly every photograph in sites like zombietime, I let anger get the best of me and spoke rather off the cuff.

Aaron said...

Stephen, your apology is well received.

I agree that some of the SF political stuff is way out of line:

--passing a city resolution calling for impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

--banning handgun ownership. Hello Bill of Rights? (I can't wait until this gets challenged in court and gets dumped due to its unconsitutionality.)

--voting against a new WWII warship tourist attraction.

--passing a resolution to make paid sick time mandatory for empolyers.


Believe it or not, Gavin is quite a moderate. You may only hear about the gay marriage thing on TV but he makes good choices on a lot of smaller local issues that never make the news. He is especially pro-business.