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Community questions Howard Beach jogger case

Nayaba Arinde | 2/23/2017, midnight
“People that I am taking to in Brooklyn just do not believe the case brought against Chanel Lewis.” community and ...
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“People that I am taking to in Brooklyn just do not believe the case brought against Chanel Lewis.” community and union activist Daniel Goodine told the Amsterdam News. “They are telling me ‘It ain’t him.’”

While tabloid headlines slam the accused 20-year-old of being a “monster,” a “savage” and a “demon” in the horrific Howard Beech rape and murder case, there seems to persistent doubt in parts of the Black community, particularly in East New York and Brownsville.

Although he waived his appearance in Queens State Supreme Court Tuesday, Lewis is charged with second-degree murder and was given an April court date.

“The feeling about Chanel Lewis in the neighborhood is that people are doubtful about his involvement in the Howard jogger case,” said East New York-based community activist A.T. Mitchell, founder and executive director of Man Up, Inc. “It is mixed in the different neighborhoods. It is definitely racially divided between East New York and Howard Beach. Without question though the rhetoric has been outrageous and racist, and that rubs people the wrong way. The community just wants facts. We have seen these trials and convictions in the media many times before. For example, the Central Park Five, and then last year those teens in Brownsville. We are urging people again to not rush to judgement, based on what is being reported as evidence. We must wait until the trial at least. Meanwhile people in the community remain doubtful that Mr. Lewis was the one involved in this terrible case.”

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office announced earlier this month that Lewis had been “charged with murder in the strangulation death of Karina Vetrano, 30, as she jogged alone on a Spring Creek park trail near her Howard Beach home Aug. 2, 2016, when she was confronted by Lewis who attacked and strangled her.”

The statement continued, “Ms. Vetrano’s body was discovered by her father later that day lying in a marshy area, approximately 15 feet from a trail near 161st Avenue and 78th Street in the park.”

Brown thanked cops and his staff, declaring that, “the person allegedly responsible for her brutal murder finally has been brought to justice.” He added, “At this time, he is being charged with intentional murder in the second degree, although the investigation is continuing and a grand jury may consider additional criminal charges when the case is presented to them.”

Although almost everyone in conversation starts from the premise that only a couple of people know what really happened that fateful day, at least in the Black community there is a repeated conversation raising questions over the arrest and charges against Lewis.

The mainstream media’s immediate “conviction” of the young man is polar opposite to what many on Black social media are stating. Questions have been asked for weeks about the case against the young man.

Former school principal Richard Lewis, 70, insisted that his “humble” son “would never have gone to do what they say he has done.” Lewis told the media that his son has “never had a fight in his 20 years.” He added that his son was hospitalized last year after being assaulted and robbed by three attackers.