Thursday, August 16, 2012

From "victim" to Victimized to Victory

On November 21st, 2011 Lamar Allen and Joseph Hunter unsuccessfully attempted to rob Express Carryout on Mulberry Street in Toledo.  Both men were armed, one with a TEC-9.  The clerk, Bandar Abu-Karsh, did as he was told by the robbers.  He gave up the money and hid behind the counter - where he could hear the robbers discussing what to do with him.  The conversation was headed in a direction Bandar didn't care for (they favored killing Bandar), so Bandar got his hands on the 9mm pistol kept behind the counter by the store owner and popped up yelling "Surprise!  School's out!" and put some lead in the air.

On Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 (almost 9 months later) the dust finally settled and Bandar is now a free man.  Keep reading to find out what happened.

I wrote about the original biased treatment of this case in Shooting "Victim".  Read the post as it amuses you, but the essence is that in a clear case of self-defense commercial media sought to vilify Bandar Abu-Karsh, the clerk who didn't want to go home in a body bag.  The problem started with Lamar being DRT and his extended family showing up at the crime scene and taking turns with their own, personal version of Shaniqua (and Tyrone) Theater.  The commercial news media sucked it right up, so while Toledo Police were writing the whole thing off as self-defense the rest of the justice department was watching television.

Carryout Clerk Faces Jail Time for Shooting Robber
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – What the Toledo Police originally called self-defense may put one Toledo carryout clerk in jail.
Right.  And the show opened right on schedule.  Some of this writing is laughable, now that the verdict is in, but I decided to review commercial media a little on this one.  Needless to say, my own opinion from the beginning was self-defense, and I believe Bandar Abu-Karsh should never have been charged with anything.  Here we go.

Lucas County Jury Finds Carryout Clerk Not Guilty in Shooting
A Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury found Bandar Abu-Karsh not guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the Nov. 21 shooting death of Lamar Allen, who with an accomplice attempted to rob the Express Carryout on Mulberry Street at gunpoint. The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for about two hours before returning a verdict Wednesday.
Isn't this supposed to be a jury of Bandar's peers?  Bandar is not a woman.  Bandar is a man, yet eight women are on the jury.  Just let Bandar be a 25 year old black male (like Lamar Allen) and see how fast this jury gets rejected in favor of a jury of peers.
The verdict means that the jury believed that Mr. Abu-Karsh’s actions were justified.
Note that sentence.  It isn't that Bandar's case is self-defense, pure and simple.  It isn't law.  It's 'the jury believed'.  My congratulations to the jury for having the wisdom to arrive at an honest verdict.
The incident was captured on the store’s 16 surveillance cameras and the recordings played for jurors.
Sixteen cameras?  I'm astonished.  Sixteen? These are the cameras that the Toledo Chief of Police claimed everyone should have instead of a gun.  Note the assailant was shot to death.
During the incident, which had lasted nearly two minutes, Mr. Abu-Karsh was able to arm himself with the store’s handgun and shoot one of the men in the head. The recorded video then shows him shoot Allen two more times with Allen’s weapon and then exchange gunfire with the accomplice, who ran from the store.
He shot Lamar Allen in the head and chased Joseph Hunter out of the store.  He then picks up Lamar's TEC-9 and uses it in its primary office, but he misses Joseph Hunter.  Too bad.
Mr. Abu-Karsh then locked the door, returned to where Allen lay, and shot him an additional 26 times through the back — emptying the bullets from the Tec-9 semiautomatic weapon that Allen had been carrying, the video showed.
This is the part that the Lucas County Persecutor purportedly thought was a crime.  I think it's very likely that the Lucas County Persecutor Julia Bates (spit) simply doesn't like the Great Unwashed taking the law into their own hands.  Clearly it would be better for everyone if Bandar had cowered helplessly behind the counter while the bad guys decided at their leisure to murder him, then had left in a body bag.  After all, there would be no Shaniqua Theater for Bandar and since there were sixteen cameras involved the TPD could solve another case and Bates could make a plea bargain.
During closing arguments to the jury, Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun said that although the incident unquestionably began as self-defense in response to fear, it turned into an action of anger.
So what?  Get Lamar's family into a room with County Persecutor Braun, let the family bring their guns and see if Braun doesn't get fearful and angry.
“The problem we have here is that the first shot was not fatal. Lamar Allen died of multiple gunshot wounds and after you watch the video, you know how those gunshots occurred,” Mr. Braun said Wednesday. “…This isn’t about self-defense. It isn’t about someone reacting to fear. It is about someone reacting to intense anger.”
He's right.  Bandar needs to work on his marksmanship, especially shooting under pressure.  Now we get to Bandar's defense.
Attorney John McMahon asked jurors to put themselves in Mr. Abu-Karsh’s place on that November morning and to decide how they would act. He questioned whether they would be rational after just experiencing men with guns threaten their lives.
“After all that, the state wants to impose a duty of rational thought on Bandar at that point. No way. No way,” he said.
And there you have it.  You're a clerk at a carryout.  Two black males come in with guns and ski masks, screaming orders and threats at you in black English that you can barely understand, then while you hide behind the counter you get to listen to them discuss offing you.  Fuck 'em.  Yes, I'd be frightened - I'd be terrified!.  Yes, I'd be afraid.  Yes, I'd be angry.  No, I would not be anything close to armchair quarterback rational.

Bandar Abu-Karsh chased Hunter out of the store and shot at him as he was running away.  My only hard spot with that is that Bandar missed.  Then Bandar went back inside the store, locked the door and emptied the clip from Lamar's TEC-9 into Lamar, shooting him in the back as he lay on the floor.  I don't have a problem with that, either.  I approve.  Lamar got what he had coming to him.

Carryout clerk found not guilty in killing of robber
Prosecutors had argued it was a case of overkill.
I don't know about that.  The County Coroner said that the SOB was still breathing and the cause of death was loss of blood, meaning that Lamar lay there wasting my oxygen for a while.

In all the fuss everyone forgot to ask about Lamar's partner, Joseph R. Hunter, 25, of 625 Acklin Avenue in Toledo, Ohio.

Carryout Clerk Charged With Shooting Death Returns to Court
Allen was killed during the shooting. Hunter fled the scene and was later arrested. He was sentenced on Tuesday to 32 years in prison.
While Hunter did not pull the trigger, a jury found him responsible for Allen's death because Allen wouldn’t have died if the pair had not been trying to rob the store.

Testimony Begins on Clerk Charged in Shooting
Allen's accomplice, Joseph Hunter, was sentenced in March to 32 years in prison after being found guilty by a jury of involuntary manslaughter, attempted murder, felonious assault, and aggravated robbery, each with gun specifications.
The part about this that I think is completely asinine is that Hunter is charged with Lamar's death, the theory being that without Joseph Hunter, Lamar would still be with us.  I find that ludicrous.  If I actually thought Hunter contributed anything to Lamar Allen being shot and killed I'd get a petition started to take ten years off his sentence and try and get him moved to a minimum security prison.  Lamar Allen was a stone cold killer, and we are better off without him.

Again, my congratulations to the Toledo Police for getting this one right the first time. 

Congratulations to attorney John McMahon for doing an excellent job defending the real victim in this case, Bandar Abu-Karsh.  You did a good job, and here's a hoist of my afternoon bourbon glass and a tip of the old fedora to you.  Keep up the good work!


Unknown said...

I am an admitted pacifist. I flinch when I think too much about the cruelty of people and how willing people are to kill other people. My problem with it is just the permanence of the whole thing.

I was however very surprised when I heard this story. It boggles my mind that they thought it appropriate to charge the clerk with a crime. HELLO! TWO PEOPLE WITH GUNS broke into the store. What was he expected to do? Carefully aim and shoot him in the legs and then apply a bandage until the police got there? The phrase over-kill used here was terribly appropriate though. I don't think I've ever heard or seen it used it it's correct context.

Covnitkepr1 said...

Just checking back for any new posts you may have written.
I’ve been a follower on your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.

Mad Jack said...


What really got to me was the part about Bandar crouching behind the counter listening to these two thugs discussing whether it would be better to kill him or let him go. Can you imagine?! And then after that the prosecutor expects Bandar to carefully check one criminal over to see if he's still a threat, and carefully evaluate his own feelings because if he shoots again out of anger, that's wrong somehow.

The idiot legislators in Columbus should have some violent sociopath rob them and talk casually about killing them. Let the fatheads who actually write the law get some experience before they concoct a stupid law that allows an arrogant County Prosecutor to go after them in court.

Mad Jack said...


Thanks for reading. I wrote a response to you here: My Blog: Things I Don't Understand.

My faith hasn't changed.