Earlier today, Brandon Elliot, 38, an African American male, was arrested for the assault on a 65 year old Filipino woman near Times Square in New York just two days ago. He has been charged with assault as a hate crime. He had been living at a nearby shelter.
The video, shot from the lobby of a residence in front of where the attack took place, shows Mr Elliot shoving the woman to the ground, then kicking her in the head. She was on her way to church.
The cruelty of the act is horrifying.
Mr Elliot had been on parole since 2019 after serving 16 years for the murder of his mother in 2002 when he was 19 years old.
The Filipino lady was identified as Vilma Kari and has now been released from the hospital.
Mr Elliot will be put on trial and convicted. Maybe he’ll never again see the outside of a prison.
And I wonder, did this man, taken into the prison system as a 19 year old, ever learn anything in the 16 years he was incarcerated?
Was he still beating up his mother when he shoved and kicked Vilma Kari?
Did he get the help he needed while in prison?
I ask you to please pause and think of this. Do we not have an obligation to educate those who commit violent acts?
Did Mr Elliot get psychological assistance to resolve the issues that led to the killing of his mother? Did he get help to bring light to the matter? Was he taught how to make a living upon release?
Prisons are well known for not providing such assistance. Well known for pretending to do so but not committing to helping heal the offender. Well known for punishing and brutalizing the inmates, numbing them to their pain and that of others.
And it keeps happening with our tacit approval because we don’t want to look at the ugliness that goes on inside those walls, as if we believed that such ugliness would be good for the inmates.
Mr Elliot’s actions showed complete disregard for the consequences. He acted in broad daylight with no intent to cover his tracks. In other words, he didn’t care.
What takes anyone to that point, after spending 16 years in prison?
Pause and reflect on it.
The pain Vilma Kari has been through is enormous and I am so glad she has survived. She is a strong and courageous woman. But if prison had done their job this would not have happened.
Very soon Mr Elliot will go on trial. He will be convicted and receive a long sentence.
But next to where he sits during his trial, there should be another seat, a vacant one, where society should be sitting, because we should be on trial, too.
Mr Elliot will return to prison and we will say to ourselves that justice was done.
But justice was not done.