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Suspect Freed In Muslim Liquor Store Attacks

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Liquor-store vandal suspect free

Witnesses disagree on ID; 4 defendants remain in 2005 case

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, January 5, 2007

Citing conflicting information provided by informants, Alameda County prosecutors dismissed charges Thursday against one of five remaining defendants — all affiliated with Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland — charged with trashing two liquor stores in the city in 2005.

At a hearing in Oakland, Deputy District Attorney John Mifsud told Superior Court Judge Morris Beatus that prosecutors were dropping charges against Jamall Robinson, 20, for "lack of sufficient evidence," saying witnesses and confidential informants did not agree on the identification of Robinson as a suspect.

Mifsud said there were no inconsistencies in the identification of four other defendants in the case. Nevertheless, the judge said he wanted the prosecutor to either disclose the names of the informants so that defense attorneys could assess their credibility or to explain at a hearing Feb. 21 why the names should be withheld.

On Nov. 23, 2005, a group of men affiliated with Your Black Muslim Bakery allegedly vandalized New York Market at 3446 Market St. and a second establishment, San Pablo Liquor at 2363 San Pablo Ave., about 12 blocks away, police said.

During those incidents, a group of men in suits and bow ties demanded that the outlets — whose owners are Muslims — stop selling liquor to African Americans. Investigators said they identified the suspects with San Pablo Liquor’s surveillance video.

Charges of vandalism and false imprisonment, as well as civil-rights violations and hate-crime clauses, are still pending against Yusuf Bey IV, son of the late Black Muslim leader Yusuf Bey; Donald Eugene Cunningham; Kahlil Raheem; and Dyamen Williams.

Two other defendants, Tamon Halfin and James Watts, each pleaded no contest last year to one count of vandalism and were placed on five years’ probation. Prosecutors earlier dismissed charges against another defendant, Demetrius Harvey.

Outside court, Robinson’s attorney, Richard Krech, said of his client, "I think he’s very happy because, as a matter of fact, he was never there at either location."

Raheem’s attorney, Barry Morris, said the defendants aren’t guilty of any hate crimes. "The only thing hated in this case is liquor," Morris said.

Defense attorneys said the case involving the vandalism at New York Market has been weakened by the arrest last month of Abdul "Tony" Hamdan, a store employee, on an arson charge for allegedly setting fire to the business five days after the vandalism. Prosecutors said Hamdan also staged his own kidnapping to set up an alibi for the fire.

While we have reported before on these incidents of Muslims attack liquor stores, the rest of the media have have studiously ignored the problem. Apart from stories in the local press, like this one.

And worse yet, there seems to be a real reluctance to prosecute them. After all, the attacks were caught on video. How hard could it be to identify the perpetrators:

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site181/2005/1125/20051125_081535_1125liquor.jpg   http://e-biscuit.com/images/uploads/OaklandLiquorSmashing.jpg

But imagine if these culprits were members of a non-protected class, such as anti-abortionists. There would be headlines for months.

The wheels of justice would not cease to grind until everyone even tangentially involved was locked up for years.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 5th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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