Ashley Parker, the sister of beaten man Matthew Owens, called to politely correct the record on some things I reported yesterday. Note that these are all in the “he said/she said” category, meaning I was careful not to report these things as facts in the first place, but as the reports from several witnesses. That said, Ms. Parker said that the incident reported by one neighbor, a supposedly racially charged confrontation two days before the beating, did not involve her brother but instead involved a neighbor. She also said, despite some speculation to the contrary, that her brother had not been drinking that day, had not drunk anything in quite some time, and had no alcohol in his blood when he was taken to the hospital after the beating.
The good news is that Mr. Owens, while still not feeling great, is feeling far better than he felt when he was readmitted to the hospital yesterday.
The police continue to diligently re-interview people to try to get a better sense of what happened. I need to make another thing clear: I do not think the police are failing to take this case seriously. I said I suspect “a bit of a cover-up” because of the repeated official statements that race played no role in the incident. In other words, the part being covered up is the nature of the attack — one which is neither entirely racial (by any means) nor completely devoid of racial animus. The important thing is not to over-emphasize the racial part of this, but to put the whole thing in context, learn from it — and help figure out who did what and by what motives, which is always a consideration in deciding whether to press charges for a crime.