Baltimore, Maryland – A man from Baltimore was taken to the hospital with sever injuries after he was attacked by an estimated 15 youths.
Baltimore Police Department (BPD) detective Donny Moses told WJZ the victim had been taking a short cut to his destination through New Hope Circle in the Pleasant Gardens townhome complex when he was attacked by what he estimates to be 15 young people.
“Out of nowhere, the victim found himself surrounded. They (suspects) beat him to the point he went down. They kicked. They stomped. They did a pretty substantial amount of damage,” said Detective Moses. “In an assault like this, there has to be a commotion where people heard something, but at the same time, there’s a level of fear. People may not want to come forward because they feel like they may be next.”
BPD officials report surveillance video footage of the attack is unclear and investigators are unsure if a positive ID of any of the suspects could be made.
WJZ reports several social media posts made unsupported claims blaming the local group of “Squeegee Boys” for the attack. However, police say they have no evidence supporting this accusation.
While interviewing Squeegee Boys working at Orleans St., near where the attack took place, WJZ reporters were told the blame is unsurprising.
“Everybody wants us gone,” said one anonymous interviewee. “They don’t want us here, so anything that happens in this area, they’re going to blame it on us.”
“We don’t worry about what they’re saying because at the end of the day, they aren’t putting money in our pockets,” said another.
Squeegee Boys are youth, usually between the ages of 10 and 18, who stand at street corners washing the windows of commuters stopping at lights. Armed with a spray bottle and their trademark gas station style squeegees, they wash windows without being asked, hoping for a monetary donation for their efforts.
Some aren’t bothered by the youth who do this, but other Baltimore residents feel strongly the unsolicited service is more in line with coercion.
This problem is further complicated because of clearly defined race lines drawn between the outraged white commuters, and the almost exclusively black Squeegee Boys.
The long controversy has been ongoing since the 1980’s when the city of Baltimore instituted laws banning the practice of washing car windows at stop lights, but drew disapproval when the legislation was accused of being aimed almost entirely at young black entrepreneurs.
Though Squeegee Boys seem to see it more as a way to survive then starting a small business:
“Everybody got a reason to be out here, or they wouldn’t be here,” 16-year-old James tells Baltimore Magazine in an interview for an article on the topic. “Not everybody has two parents at home or people looking after them the way they should.”
The youth see what they are doing as a way to avoid the violence and prison terms of the more usual ways their cohorts use to earn money.
“I’m my only source of income,” says 19-year-old Donovan who went on to say he’d been arrested for trying to earn money through the more lucrative trade of selling drugs. “I’ve seen friends die and go to jail with long sentences,” he says. “I’ve seen some pretty terrible stuff, and I don’t want that.”
Derrick, who is just 14, uses the money he earns to help his mother pay the rent for him and his 4 siblings.
“I come out before school some mornings to have money in my pocket and get something to eat after. Who else is going to help us?” he told Baltimore Magazine.
Outrage over the topic is renewed after every time a purse is snatched through an open window, and unsubstantiated blame for the beating was quickly directed towards nearby Squeegee Kids by those who view the practice as aggressive panhandling and illegal solicitation.
Police are asking anyone with information leading to the capture of the teens involved in the beating of the victim to come forward.
“People need to realize this could be their father,” said Detective Moses. “This could be their brother. This could be their son, and we need to get to the bottom of this. If they strike one, chances are they’ll strike again. Before they strike again, we need to arrest them.”
Protecting yourself from a large group of people carries with it the risk of being surrounded. Knowing how to scan for additional threats is an absolute essential skill.
You could be focused on an advancing threat while completely unaware of being flanked by an accomplice. Read here for an article by Matthew Maruster on Scanning for Multiple Threats, You May be Doing it Wrong.
How many rounds should you carry for your CCW pistol? Fighting off a group of attackers could mean needing more ammunition then just the 5 rounds in a revolver. Read here for an article by Brandon Scott on How Many Rounds Should You Carry Concealed Everyday.