Sunday, 20 October 2013

Police make another arrest in biker attack on SUV driver during NYC rally

NEW YORK :[Fox News]

Another biker has been arrested in connection with a mob attack on an SUV driver during a motorcycle rally in New York City.

Kaliq Douglas was charged with gang assault. Police say the 28-year-old Brooklyn man was among a group of bikers who chased an SUV for miles after a Sept. 29 encounter on a Manhattan highway.
Amateur video shows the bikers forcing the SUV to halt then surrounding it on foot. The driver says he feared for his life and plowed through the crowd, running over and gravely injuring one motorcyclist.
Bikers gave chase, then pulled the driver from the vehicle and beat him.
Several riders have been arrested, including an off-duty police officer.
Douglas was in custody. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer

Folk Devils and Moral Panics ? *

Is it not amazing ( and of concern  ?) that the sociological and behavioural observations and theories in relation to subcultures/mainstream culture, so well espoused in the 1970's academic study Folk Devils and Moral Panics - by Stanley Cohen are still so relevant today in the 21st Century,

Now that is just one press report but it is evident of the prevalent press slant on the events of that day.

similarly, The LA times reports

'Eighth person is charged in NYC motorcycle gang attack on SUV' 

- the copy still includes the required "slant" words but does at least mention injuries sustained by both the motorcyclist who was run over and the driver, from the beating shortly after in the same series of incidents.

[The SUV driver] ' Lien's injuries included two black eyes, multiple cuts to his face that required stitches, and injuries to his hands, back and right shoulder, according to criminal complaint '


[The motorcyclist] ' Mieses remains hospitalized with spinal and leg injuries. '

Perspectives ? - What came First Chicken or Egg ?

' It all began on Manhattan’s West Side Highway when a motorcyclist slowed down and made contact with Lien’s SUV. After the initial encounter, the bikers surrounded the black Range Rover but Lien -- whose wife and 2-year-old child were passengers in the car -- fled, running over biker Edwin “Jay” Mieses Jr.

Predictably, the newspaper takes as the initial provocative act of the whole series of events to be the motorcyclist pulling in front of the Range Rover and deliberately slowing down - resulting in a "nudge" to the motorcycle from the family SUV.

However, reports are now coming to light that this alleged act of unprovoked aggressive behaviour on the part of the Motorcycle rider was itself precipitated by the alleged throwing of a water bottle at the motorcyclists by the SUV driver.
This is an interesting case from many angles not just the facts. On a News level it has the shock horror , innocent family attacked by crazy biker mob appeal that sells Newspapers . On another level it derives it's momentum from the stereotyping that is still prevalent in both human nature and exploited by the sales hungry press.

The basic skeleton of the whole matter  is scarily simple when stripped of the emotional 'drivers[yes of course Pun intended !]. From both side it is a case of  'they did this to us so we did that to them and they did that to us so we did that to them' al. Right or Wrong, that is human behaviour at it's basic level.

The factors that forge public attitude and opinion on such matters complex but include the way in which the press report, the use of language(Gang, Mob,Family man, etc ) combined with already deep set beliefs, needs, attitudes and opinions (some would even say indoctrinations), as well as learned behaviours and perspectives of the 'players' and observers involved.

Folk Devils and Moral Panics is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand this powerful and enduring phenomenon.
Professor Stanley Cohen is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics. He received the Sellin-Glueck Award of the American Society of Criminology (1985) and is on the Board of the International Council on Human Rights. He is a member of the British Academy

LA Times