Outside, people were streaming into the nearby subway station. Among them was Kevin Lockett, an African American man who walked along the platform pulling a cooler in one hand.
That’s the last thing he can remember with absolute certainty. The rest, according to court testimony reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, only comes back to him in bits, pieces and violent flashes.
He thought he heard a racial slur from a group of men, and the next thing he knew, he was being thrown onto the train tracks.
After Lockett lifted himself back onto the platform, surveillance footage shows, 21-year-old Ryan Kyle started beating him. Another 21-year-old, Matthew Laplace, pulled his cooler away.
“I knew we’d find this [n-word],” he recalled someone saying. Then an onlooker called the police.
The attack was brief, but its impact has stayed with Lockett. According toWTAE Pittsburgh, he has undergone four costly reconstructive surgeries since the assault, but still suffers from impaired vision. More therapy awaits.
Four men involved in the incident — Laplace, 22, Kenneth Gault, 22, David Depretis, 21, and Christopher Laplace, 23 — were variously charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, theft, reckless endangerment and criminal conspiracy.
All four are white, as is Kyle. He is the only one who touched Lockett and the only one who could face prison time, as a result of plea deals.
Gault and Depretis pleaded no contest and were sentenced to six months probation, WTAE reported; Matthew LaPlace pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months probation. All are required to perform 100 hours of community service to benefit a minority community.
Christopher LaPlace, Matthew’s brother, will be sentenced on Thursday.
“There’s no punishment,” Lockett told WTAE with a shake of the head, calling the sentences “slaps on the wrist.”
Surely this is all President Obama's fault, we all know that black people can't be anywhere near Kenny Chesney concerts. It's in the same place in the Constitution as "Black presidents can't nominate Supreme Court justices in their final year of office."