They’re children, not gang members

Sandusky Register Staff
Oct 2, 2013
Thirteen teenagers — children — are charged with participating in criminal gang activity, aggravated rioting, burglary and vandalism for their alleged actions during a brawl inside a hallway at a Fox Run Trail apartment building last month.

There are photos of the boys with their shirts off, throwing their hands in the air.

The Sandusky Police Department and prosecutors determined it was a “gang turf war.”

There’s a video clip from a surveillance camera, scaring the good people of Erie County into an anti-young-black-male frenzy.

Welcome to “The Erie County Threat Matrix.” It’s a place where they think if they repeat words like gang, youth, assailants and dangerous — often enough — residents will be too scared to realize Erie County is preparing to send up their children.

It would be better if we could see this for what it really was: A fight between teenagers and about a dozen men that started over a basketball game. It resulted in the vandalism of a hallway. There were no serious injuries.

But 13 city teens are charged with participating in criminal gang activity, a second-degree felony, and aggravated rioting. It was just a fight, not much different from the schoolyard fights that have occurred every day for generations.

The charges that resulted can bring serious prison sentences, however, which will have serious impact on the children involved, diminishing their opportunities to build a normal life. For what? Actions that really don’t deserve any charges more serious than a misdemeanor assault, disorderly conduct or vandalism.

It’s ridiculous.

There’s no precedent in Erie County for the kind of charges filed against these kids.

The Hell’s Angels and the Outlaws operated here for years. No threat warnings went out. Erie County did not go to DefconFive, and no members of those groups were ever charged with participating in criminal gang activity or aggravated rioting for a brawl.

There was never an effort to address the so-called “gang problem,” even after the murder of David Hartlaub by members of the Hell’s Angels in 1988.

So why are officials handling these children differently?

Could it be “gangs” are not the issue?

Every Bike Week, each year, we get an influx of gangs sporting their colors on the back of their vest. These gangs have been responsible for brawls, other criminal activities and murder. Yet the county never addressed any gang problem in those situations.

Is it simply the complexion of the gangs has changed? If not, then why now? Why these kids? Why bring such serious charges against kids over an incident that resulted in no serious injuries, resulted in only minor property damage, didn’t involve a firearm, and put no innocent people in danger?

I’ve witnessed plenty of what can be considered “gang turf wars” in parking lots of bars throughout the city, and the gangsinvolved were not always comprised of black males. Yeah, surprise — young and old caucasian males are known to “brawl” as well, yet I can only remember black people being charged with aggravated rioting.

Has a caucasian ever been charged with aggravated rioting in Erie County, or are charges like participating in criminal gang activity and aggravated rioting reserved for Erie County’s African-American population?

What makes these Sandusky boys a criminal gang? They don’t have a drug empire. They don’t extort local business owners. They’re not a terrorist cell. What criminal activity do they come together as a group and collectively plan and execute?

It would better serve the community to approach the potential incarceration of our children with extreme care, as if we fear wasting Erie County’s most valuable resource: its youth.


getit right be4...

More racist race baiting drool.


Ever notice that SR commentators are overwhelmingly conservative, yet EC is majority Democrat?

I picture the typical SR commentator as about 58, living in EC because they were born in the area and leaving would be too challenging, on some kind of government disability or state funded pension or living off of inheritence, basically incapable understanding statistics, and sitting at home alone thinking that their entitled, comfortable, yet middling life is a result of "reverse racism". There's probably a failed small business and a loud motorcycle in there somewhere, too. Oh, and they probably believe welfare to blacks is at an all time high.


What are you talking about? This editorial is overwhelmingly leftist


People who comment on stories are commentators. There are no stupid questions. Just stupid people who ask questions.


When a "bunch" get together, it's a gang. Race has nothing to do with it. Parenting or lack of parenting has a lot to do with it.

Licorice Schtick

Newell ignores the fact that of the 13 "teenagers" (his term) listed as arrested in article to which the link pointed, 5 were legally adults, not "children," as he characterizes them.

I presume we'll eventually find out which meet the legal standard for gangsters.

R U Kidding me

nip it in the bud if they weren't doing a gang turf war from there actions it isn't far off


Yep, must be a man of color writing this drivel. Start with the parents of these punks...Where are they ? Are they involved in their lives everyday or were they raised by Grammy / Pappy / Auntie / Unky ?


I'm going to go out on a limb here.... Writer has to be a loser Democrat! poor me, my life is so bad, No matter how many great decisions I make the white man is holding me down wahhhwahhh wahhhh Some government assistance will make it all better tho.
Was at Applebees yesterday and there were 4 younger black kids (early to mid 20's)
and one made a big scene crying to the manager how the bartender was a racist because he charged him for a extra ranch dressing. Really the race card over a ranch dressing? Non racist are so sick of having the race card pulled for every and little thing that people that weren't racist are becoming racist or at the minimum don't want nothing to do with blacks. I know because of incidents like this I avoid hiring them!, all for good reason. There's no excuse young black youth! get off the corner and join the military!

The Bizness

The above comments are disgusting


What is disgusting is what this town has become. The "I deserve everything" attitude is crippling this community. The younger generations do not want to work for anything. Public assistance is at an all time high.

The Bizness

Look, I don't agree with a lot of what the post says, but the comments are worse.

I think if you get to know most people in the community you will see they want to work to have a better life, not have it given to them.

I am from one of those younger generations you speak of and I have been working since I was 13.

The Answer Person

and look at what it had gotten you.


What was initially written is a crock. These kids already have no chance, mostly because of who their parents are. Their parents are not around, and not because they are at work. These kids are just another example of poor or no parenting. If these kids do not want felony charges brought against them, then they need to walk away from stuff like this that occurs way too often.


Dear Officer Krupke......


why does it say anonymous for the writer, but have a picture of Damon Newell? did you write this article Damon Newell?


Wait a minute, when the original article and video were first published, many on here ridiculed these "kids" and called them wanna be gang members and thugs. What changed?

Bottom Line

Newell is a convicted felon? Am I the only one seeing this? Is this article for real?

Jason Werling

huronguy- Damon Newell is the author of this blog and this column was published in today's Register.

Anyone commenting on this post- Call his opinion what you want and argue either way, but Damon has put his name and face to what he is writing and it is his opinion. There has not been a comment posted here yet with someone using their real name, unless you count the one you are currently reading.

Many people have asked for constructive conversation/debate in our comments section. We would ask you comment as if you were using your real name, but know that as long as we provide the option of using names like "getit right be4...", "SoldOnAcorns" or "R U Kiddingme", our community members will communicate in a manner they would not communicate publicly.

We will be looking at ways to improve our community commenting in the future and welcome any dialog on how we can effectively do that now and in the future.



I beg to differ, Jason. In the paragraph below, Damon makes a false accusation and statement like it is truth! When there is absolutely no truth or facts to back this up at all!

Damon writes, "Every Bike Week, each year, we get an influx of gangs sporting their colors on the back of their vest. These gangs have been responsible for brawls, other criminal activities and murder. Yet the county never addressed any gang problem in those situations."

That is 100% NOT TRUE! There has never been a murder at Bike Week, a brawl between gang members or an influx of criminal activity during Bike Week!

Damon writing about his feelings is one thing, but the Register publishing his out and out lies, are an outrage to me!


Exactly. The first bike week was nice and peaceful, and then a few hours after it was over and the bikers had all retired to their hotels, the locals had a shootout on Hancock Street.

Dr. Information

I know a gentleman from Willard that is a Legion Rider. They support each other, ride together and even have their own patches and jackets. They have never once been in a gang fight or murdered anyone.

This article is complete trash, along with the person who wrote this race baiting fairytale.

getit right be4...

I have a suggestion don't change the way the comment sections work just because you don't like what the readers are saying.

I don't use my real name because I am ashamed that I still read anything in the register. I would never pay for a paper. Just like many people that read the paper online and post comments. If you go changing the way you let people comment you will loose these people also.

I am on the other hand not ashamed to call a racist a racist when he wrights an article full of opinions based on race and race only.

"scaring the good people of Erie County into an anti-young-black-male frenzy"

The good people of Erie County would be scared of any group of people acting in such criminal behavior.

"Has a caucasian ever been charged with aggravated rioting in Erie County, or are charges like participating in criminal gang activity and aggravated rioting reserved for Erie County’s African-American population?"

Has a group of caucasians been caught on video or with sufficient evidence rioting in Erie County. Does he have evidence that will back up his statements that the county is only bringing aggravated rioting charges against the African-American population?

Don't get upset when someone gets called out on the racist drool they try to push on us.


Jason, I have said for a long time that the SR needs to stop letting people hide behind these rediculous alter ego names!!...Start publishing comments with their real names and see just how many people will get on here and bash people and say the things they say!!..Most of them are internet trolls, ALWAYS whining and complaining about people not having jobs, looking for handouts from the government, etc. etc., but the SAME people are always the ones trolling the articles and waiting to "jump!"....Do THEY have jobs, or are they hiding who they truly are and making everyone else look/sound bad because they themselves have a guilty conscience about getting government handouts!?!?.....Kind of hard to believe half of them work when they sit in waiting for the right time to pounce on any article that's posted!!

getit right be4...

So your parents named you Imalley77?


Unlike you "getit right be4" I actually used my first and middle initials and my LAST name!!!!.....And I would STILL comment on the posts if the SR changed to using people's REAL names because I am NOT a troll that sits around and waits to see who I can bash and make fun of every single day on the SR site!!!!... :)

getit right be4...

In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[6]
This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. For example, mass media has used troll to describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families


And your point is!?!?!....Because you just proved my point!...The "TROLLS" who comment on EVERY article, on a daily basis, do so to cause grief and uproar to others with their comments!....It was nice talking to you, but I must go to bed now, and plus, I don't have time to argue with anyone on the SR site...I simply stated my opinion that the SR should start using people's REAL names and maybe some of the "trolling" that you so politely defined for us would stop! :)


This from someone who can't differentiate between lose and loose.


@ lmalley

Like you just bashed me on the other story about the Jackson murders?

Hypocrite , much?