It’s been well over a year since the two Marks made their Allah Akbar mark giving special treatment to Muslims charged with crimes in the U.S. The Pennsylvania judge, Mark Martin, dismissed charges against a Muslim man, Talaag Elbayomy, who attacked Ernie Perce for parading down the street as a zombie Mohammed in Mechanicsburg, Penn. October 2011.
The Dearborn Heights Judge Mark J. Plawecki, dismissed charges against four Muslim boys, football players who attacked the quarterback on the opposing team near the end of the game.
The parade confrontation was part of the Parading Atheists of Central Pennsylvania. Perce was marching with an equally scary “Zombie Pope” when Elbayomy confronted Perce about his irreligious costume.
“He grabbed me from the back, choked me, spun me around to try to get my sign off that was around my neck,” said Perce. Oddly enough, both men sought assistance from a Mechanicsburg Police Officer, who then cited Elbayomy for attacking Perce. The officer, Sgt. Brian Curtis, was as surprised as Perce when Judge Martin dismissed the charge - harassment.
“The defendant was wrong in this case in what he did in attacking him,” Curtis said. “I believe that I brought a case that showed proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
But Martin went further; he lectured Perce about his lack of sensitivity to those of other religions, like Muslims. Perce recorded the courtroom conversation, as well as video of the confrontation on the street, which is mostly a sound recording. “We understand that Muslims are extremely sensitive,” said Carl Silverman, a member of the atheists group. “But this is America. And you need to get over the sensitivity and take out your opposition in peaceful ways. Not by attacking people physically.”
While Martin was reportedly a recent convert to Islam, and has served in the Middle East, Plawecki’s ruling is a different case, because he claims his decision reflects common sense in football officiating. The charges stem from an incident that occurred during the final minutes of a playoff game October 2011, as Westland Lutheran High School was about to beat Star International Academy of Dearborn Heights by a lopsided score of 47-6.
Referees told the players on the field that Westland’s quarterback was going to take a knee to run out the clock. Instead, police say several Star players burst through the offensive line and laid out the quarterback, 15-year-old P.J. Guse. He suffered a grade III concussion and missed some school as a result of the incident. “I’m not sure how he went flying through the air but he did. He landed face down and didn’t move. And I’ve never been so scared,” said Jane Guse, P.J.’s mother.
Players and coaches from both teams stormed the field and a brief skirmish broke out, during which Westland’s coach was punched by a Star player. After a three-month investigation, the four Muslim teenagers, Mohamed Ahmed, Hadee Attia, Fanar al-Asady and Ali Bajjey, were charged as adults with misdemeanor assault and battery charges by Dearborn Heights Police and Wayne County. Diane Herra, who was at the game when violence erupted, said she was disappointed with the judge’s ruling.
“This boy could not even walk to the benches, he kept falling because he was so hurt. So, I just don’t understand, just because, you know, it’s a Muslim school and we’re a Christian school,” said Herra. The judge did suggest, however, that civil litigation is an option for the Guse family. The four players were charged with assault and battery.
"Whoever authorized these charges has apparently never watched a football game," said Plawecki. “If we criminalize these players’ actions, we criminalize nearly every football game ever played. If we criminalize these actions, we criminalize every pitcher who has intentionally thrown at a batter, and every vagrant elbow thrown beneath the basket."
In dismissing the charges, Plawlecki undercut a thorough investigation by police, who viewed the video evidence and listened to eye witness accounts before recommending the charges against all four boys. Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan, said he is pleased with the judge’s decision.
“To have criminally charged these youths, treat them like adults, would be basically to decriminalize almost every football game that takes place on the collegiate level, high school level or professional level," Walid said. "So, we are pleased with the verdict today." Walid also also attended a press conference with a representative with the NAACP, who labeled the charges racist.
Of course, the problem with his reasoning is that there are already penalties for roughing up the passer or kicker. There are few if any penalties against attacking a quarterback who kneels at the end of the game because it rarely if ever happens. And if this were truly racism, as CAIR and NAACP claimed, then why was it not acknowledged by Judge Plawlecki?
The Pennsylvania judge was clear about his bias in favor of Muslims, for which he was later rebuked by a review of the case. Should Plawlecki also be rebuked for overruling police who probably know what is and is not ordinary football play? Plawecki seems to presume a superior knowledge of not just football, but all sports - to the degree that it would seem to be a good idea for police and sheriff’s deputies to learn from him.
And it may be the case - at least for baseball; he self-published a book on baseball: “How could you trade Billy Pierce?” Essays and Analyses of Baseball’s Best Players (1901 - 2005).” In it, he introduces the Park Adjusted Pitching Average (PAPA), which he says more accurately determine a pitcher’s performance. He might even qualify as a sports nerd.
Hopefully Judge Plawlecki will make himself available to the police and sheriff’s deputies so they can better understand the game, and never again burden the judge with such frivolous and unfounded charges.
Had the students from Westland watched football with Plawecki, they might have known that these four Muslim boys who caused a serious concussion, were simply following a new unwritten rule: If the quarterback who takes a knee at the end of the game is a Christian, or from a Christian school, and they are beating the Muslim team badly, like by a score of 46 - 6, then the Muslim boys are free to attack the Christian boy and knock his helmet off. This would then prepare the quarterback to be hit by the Muslim players so he can avoid injury.
Perhaps Plawecki should write another book about end of the game assaults on quarterbacks - the kind that cause concussions. It could include referee warnings that can be easily understood by Muslim players. A past president of the Wayne County District Judges Association and the Polish American Legal Society (PALS) for Michigan, Plawlecki has also written a column - Confessions of a Condor - for the Detroit Legal News.
At the beginning of his column, Plawecki quotes Sam Roberts: “Witness the end of the Empire - the Romans of our Time.” Perhaps this is what Plawecki is referring to: when a judge gives an opinion that flies in the face of common sense, it must mean the end of our empire, if we still have one.
Here is the contact information for both judges:
Mark J. Plawlecki
District Court Judge
25637 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn Heights, MI 48125
Mark W. Martin
Magisterial District Judge
507 N. York St.
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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