As I reported yesterday, the Mobile Police Department is ludicrously claiming that it is likely that no more than three people will be arrested for the now-infamous mob beating of a man in Mobile because the other 17 or so people were supposedly just “onlookers.” Leaving aside the fact that this hardly squares with the manifold reports to the contrary, let’s assume that only three people actually landed blows. To call the others mere “onlookers” when they were almost all engaged in mob action, yelling, cheering, or whatever, is outrageous. Last I checked, incitement to violence is itself a crime. Frankly, I think the circumstances merit numerous arrests based on Alabama criminal code law 13A-11-4: Inciting to Riot. Even 14 year-olds have been charged under this statute, for instigating multi-person fights.
ANYBODY who provides encouragement to the commission of a crime is an accessory thereto, which is a criminal offense usually treated as if it represents the same degree of culpability as the actual attacker.
If the Mobile police end up arresting only three people, it will be almost certainly be a monumental injustice, and amount to sweeping a crime under the rug.