The good people of Philadelphia like to take an active role in community policing — especially when they happen to catch the bad guy and beat the living shit out of him before police arrive. But it becomes something of problem when they decide to go vigilante on the wrong guy…
An 11-year-old girl had walked her younger sister to a day care center, then headed off to her own school. That’s when a man approached her to make small talk. Suddenly, he yanked her into an alley, where he raped her in “every way imaginable,” as police would later describe it.
The girl was found bleeding profusely and would require surgery and three days in the hospital to mend. Naturally, police were desperate to catch the shitbag who did it.
That’s when they received a tip that a man named “Romeo” was the rapist. They apparently started asking about the guy around the neighborhood. The problem: The tip was wrong.
28-year-old Michael Zenquis was known as “Romeo” for his deluxe singing voice. And when a woman recognized him on the street as the man police hoped to talk to, she began to scream “Rapist!” And that brought an angry mob down on Zenquis’ ass.
The crowd cornered him on the street and began to beat him savagely. One guy used a baseball bat. Another used a piece of lumber. By the time it was over, Zenquis was in the hospital.
It wasn’t until the next day that the real rapist was caught. It seems Jose Carrasquillo had been rejected by a woman who decided to date a black guy instead. So to get his revenge on black people, Carrasquillo raped the little girl, who was black.
When police announced that he was a person of interest in the case, Carrasquillo was caught on the street by an entirely different mob and day later. He also got his ass beat.
Carrasquillo was subsequently sentenced to 30-66 years for the rape. But Zenquis now wants his own day in court. He’s suing the city and police, claiming they encouraged vigilante justice.
The suit, which doesn’t specify damages, claims police were showing the photo of “Romeo” around before they were certain he was a true suspect.
Yet police say they never circulated a photo of Zenquis. And even if they mentioned his name around the neighborhood, it’s hard to blame them. They’d received a tip in a case where a little girl had been raped. It was there job to follow any possible lead in drilling the shitbag who did it.
See our original story on the case: Jose Carrasquillo, Racist Rapist, Takes Beating From Neighbors & 30 Years From Judge.