The Restroom from Hell/Golden Gardens Park/Mon May 14/11:25 pm: To make Officer Ritter's convoluted police report more readable, I've reorganized it into a linear (or lean) narrative.
This is taken from the top of the third paragraph of the report: "Victim one stated that he was walking into the bathroom at Golden Gardens Park when he observed most of the suspects [black males between the ages of 15 and 17] standing outside the front door. As he got closer, the suspects taunted him and told him 'don't go in there.' Victim one continued into the bathroom and noticed two people inside one of the stalls apparently having sex. When victim one exited the restroom, the suspects chased him, jumped him, and began kicking and punching him in the face and on the head."
This is from the bottom of the third paragraph: "Police contacted victim three who stated that he was in the bathroom when the original assault happened and when he came out he saw the suspects 'on top of the dude, hitting him.'"
This is from the middle of the third paragraph: "[V]ictim two and three came to the aid of victim one. The suspects then attacked victim two. She was knocked to the ground and beaten. The suspects then fled with one of them saying: 'She's knocked out.'"
This is from the top of the first paragraph of the report: "A witness called 911 and reported that at least five black males were assaulting a white female, who was down on the ground bleeding. At 2148 the call was updated indicating the victim was barely conscious and advised that the suspects were returning and beating another person. The 911 call taker could hear screaming in the background just before the phone was disconnected."
This is the second paragraph of the report: "Several minutes later, we arrived and saw the group of suspects rounding the bathroom corner and yelling, 'It's the Five O.' The suspects began rapidly walking away from the area. The suspects were ordered to the ground at gunpoint and all of the suspects were obnoxious and some appeared to be intoxicated."
This is near the bottom of the third paragraph: "While the Seattle Fire Department were treating the victims—victim two was still unconscious and began losing blood pressure—one suspect was so intoxicated he vomited inside of the police car."
This is from the penultimate paragraph: "While at the precincts, the suspects were laughing and joking about the incident."
This is the end of the report: "The parents of the suspects were contacted; the suspects were photographed; the suspects were eventually booked at Youth Service Center."
Can we compare these five black delinquents to Bigger Thomas, the main character of Richard Wright's 1940 novel Native Son? As violent as Bigger Thomas was, he could still be redeemed by the humanist project (he was a product of the environment; given better opportunities he could become a better person). The five black males in this report, however, seem lost in a night that not even the sun of humanism can penetrate. Their night is one that begins and ends in death.