Possible suspects in the horrific gay bashing of a young couple in Philadelphia last Thursday have been identified thanks to teamwork on social media, especially a Twitter user who says he was "voted #1 Eagles fan on Twitter."
The unidentified gay male couple, 26 and 28, were severely beaten as they walked to a pizza shop by about a dozen young men and women described as "clean-cut, well-dressed and in their early 20s. The suspects include young men wearing golf shirts, khaki shorts and, in one case, an orange sweater vest." When the two gay men -- together six years -- acknowledged they were a couple, the group started screaming "you dirty faggot, you dirty faggot," according to one of the men assaulted.
"I had three, four guys on me. I turned around and saw his(my boyfriend's) head hit the ground, like hard," said the 28-year-old victim. "I was horrified. I thought he was dead."
Both men suffered injuries in the attack. The 26-year-old victim, who just returned home from the hospital, says his mouth was wired shut and he'll need eight weeks to recover.
"I have multiple facial fractures on both sides of my face," the man said. "I have an orbital fracture, which is like the eye socket. I had a big laceration that was from the tip of my nose all the way to my lip that was gushing blood."
It was then that social media swung into action. Gawker has a detailed account, but basically one Twitter user posted a photo of a group in an upscale restaurant that night that looked an awful lot like some of the people caught on a surveillance video walking away from the area where the couple was attacked.
Twitter user @FanSince09 then enlisted his followers to start the process of getting IDs. He was aided by comparing their IDs with their Facebook check-ins, which placed them at the restaurant.
If you're going to gay bash don't fill your FB profile with gay slurs and also delete that resturant check in from earlier— FanSince09 (@FanSince09) September 17, 2014
He shared all the info with Philadelphia police, which credited him with possibly cracking the case. Tweeted Detective Joseph Murray:
This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops. I will take a couple thousand Twitter detectives over any one real detective any day.— Joseph Murray (@PPDJoeMurray) September 17, 2014
Murray stressed that no arrests have been made, but news reports say some of the suspects have already retained attorneys. Let's hope the people who attacked the gay couple do so some time.
@FanSince09 tweeted this when asked why he was do diligent:
Listen. We showed tonight that our city will not tolerate this. My hope if that another city realizes they won't tolerate it— FanSince09 (@FanSince09) September 17, 2014
Because soon, the message will spread that this won't be tolerated. Not in our town, not anywhere.— FanSince09 (@FanSince09) September 17, 2014
Bravo to all involved! I take back anything mean I might have ever said about Eagles fans.