MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police Director Toney Armstrong and District Attorney General Amy Weirich admit they wish they could do more to bring the criminals from the Kroger mob attack to justice. But both said the law limits what they can and cannot do.
“We have done everything we said we were going to do, and we are still not done,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he made a promise to get these flash mob members off the street. They attacked four people for no reason. So far, eleven are charged, but not with a hate crime.
“The current civil rights intimidation statute in the state of Tennessee does not cover the facts as we know them, as to what happened in that Kroger parking lot,” Weirich said.
She said a hate crime in Tennessee is when someone’s constitutional rights are violated. Weirich said in this case, that didn’t happen, but they are pursuing felony charges. One of the victims was white, but investigators say there’s no evidence that’s why he was attacked.
Tuesday, Weirich and Armstrong pointed the finger at parents, saying it’s their responsibility to break the culture of violence.
Armstrong said, “I think it’s completely unacceptable for a parent of a teenager, a 15-year-old, to not know where your kid is at all times.”
In the meantime, they will work within the law to do what they can to hold these criminals accountable. He said people shouldn’t live in fear of being attacked.
“If I had my way, and it was completely up to me. If I was responsible for the investigation, prosecution, and sentencing of crimes I’d do away with crime 50 percent the first year 100 percent next year,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong didn’t say how he would reduce crime, but said he hopes more parents turn in their kids if they had anything to do with the attack.