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?


Starry...I didn't BASH you, I simply stated that YOU should re-read the PDF file again, because you were telling everyone ELSE to read it right, and you were putting words on the posts that weren't even in the PDF file!...Could you please enlighten me on HOW that was bashing or trolling???...Hahahaha...I'm just laughing now, because you told me to not take everything so literal, but here you are, on another article looking to see who you can "troll" with and I guess I'm the lucky winner tonight!...Oh well...I said my peace and stated my opinions, that's NOT bashing or trolling, that's called using my brain and posting something that makes sense, such as the fact that you were "reading between the lines" as you put it, and were not stating facts, but instead you were manipulating the truth of what was said in the PDF file to fit the way you "saw" it...good night... hope you have a blessed night and a beautiful day tomorrow...I will not go to bed bitter, no matter how hard anyone may try to make me! :)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Posting under one's name certainly leads to a necessity to make sure your point is out there, explained, and hopefully understood. I post effectively under my name as a commenter and my real name as a blogger to ensure a level of scrutiny is taken in what I present. Anonymity still has a role, I believe many of our founding fathers wrote under a pen name, but then again it wasn't as easy to have a town crier go, "@vacolony #BeFrank 's bald spot wuz brite in the July sun 2day, mayb he needs a #Whig"

While the Huffington Post and I usually don't agree, I did read how they are changing their comment policy to encourage more "real" posters. It may be worth taking a look and see if Tandem/SR can do something similar? I know some have expressed an interest in a rating or karma system similar to likes/dislikes on Facebook, YouTube, etc. Or, barring that, "certified" posters have their comments stickied at the top while others who want to hash it out anonymously can do so below the "real" comments?

Hopefully these leads can actually produce some good policy and commenting here! Email me or set up a time I can see you all at the building if you'd like to discuss more.

2cents's picture

And Jason, how much editing did the SR do to his writing? I know when I used to submit letters to the editor they would get edited for more than typos and it became worse over the years of new editors so I stopped when my friends asked 'what happened to your meaning". Having the blogs one can type unedited and with a name they may become targeted by a reader that may not like what they have to say about a particular subject!

J. Hartman

Thank You Jason!!!!!!! Like I mentioned before, some papers make you use your facebook as a log in. Not sure what you do for people who are not on facebook, but that would be a start. Everyone should use their right to the 1st amendment, but it would also be nice to address the real names when false/inaccurate comments are made. It would also limit people from writing an article under their birth name only to use a fictitious name when comments are not going the way they may have wanted. I would miss some of the funnier ones however!

Stop It

And you don't think that a false name Facebook account is possible? Not to mention those that keep up with the security features Facebook is famous for changing on a monthly basis. You are naive as all get out..even if I gave you my FB page, you could not read it unless I wanted you to.

Get real.


More often than not, people on Facebook, those who want to rant and rave false accusations, use a pseudo name or their own name but have found a way to construct their page so that you cannot find that person or even block them or defriend them. Facebook has deteriorated into the same garbage and name calling site as this news rag. I you should have photo id to use this forum and your correct name. I don't want people shooting or stabbing the wrong people.


So people's opinions do not count if they do not use their real name?

Jason, while I appreciate the Register's attempt at creating constructive conversation and debate, publishing a column that has some have pointed out as being blatant race baiting. This gentlemen never really makes his case why the people caught on the video should not be charged. He totally ignores the fact that the others involved came here from Detroit. School yard fights the author refers to did not ever involve the mass of people that this fight swelled to (which you could call a gang). The author never shares his thoughts on what an acceptable charge or charges against this "gang" of people are. As for locking up our youth, maybe it is the wake up call that they need. It appears that Mr. Newell has turned around since his incarceration. If our local youth are shown that the type of public behavior that was captured on the video tapes is acceptable then what will the results be?

Remember what Friedrich Nietzsche said "Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."

A couple years ago a couple local small business owners and myself went around and photographed all of the graffiti around portions of the town and checked it online against known gang graffiti. If this author is trying to tell us that we do not have a gang issue in this town, then he needs to walk out the pressroom door and look at the walls behind the Old Odd Fellows building. Those photographs were cataloged online and links were sent to city leaders. Obviously, for the most part they were ignored.

I would like to suggest that The Register use a commenting system that requires a Facebook log-in much like the Toledo Blade and ESPN uses. It will lead to what you say you are seeking. However, it will lead to less web traffic, which if we can be honest is what you really are seeking.

thinkagain's picture


Stop It

See above on the use FB for ID. Really? Are that many people unaware that we can use fake names on FB, use proxies for the ISP addy and create a new e-mail (used for sign-up to an account) on the fly?

This is not the '90''s 2013.


Sandusky register needs to be honest with their readers why they pulled the Perkins BOE video from the website and all of the comment sections Are they apposed to freedom of speech?

Pastor Ron

Clearly part of the problem is that a segment of our population chooses not to live in an orderly society. They lack basic intellect and common sense. If you watch the video, they look like a pack of wide animals and wild animals need to be in the wild or locked up. If these kids want to act like thugs and pretend they are in a gang, then they deserve to be treated like adults. If the "community" they come from can't take care of their own..... they shouldn't complain when the system steps up and does something about it. Listen to the police scanner it is the same people over and over.

Bottom Line

Hey, Jason, giving this guy a forum to voice his biased, felonious opinion is a joke. Normally, I just sit back while others point out that this paper is an embarrasment. Today I will do the same. How about a real article? It's been a few days since there was anything on here promoting gay pride. Maybe that would be good filler until then.

Jason Werling

There are plenty of articles for you to read at our site, we also provide opinion columns and blogs. When we publish unhappy news we are asked for happy stories and when we post happy stories we are asked "How is this a story, how about some real news?"

Isn't every opinion biased?

What we do provide is a well-rounded source of information, news, opinions, photos, sports and entertainment.

Look around a bit, use the navigation bar at the top of this page to go to Norwalk news, area sports, entertainment and healthier living. Download a couple coupons while you're at it.

Not every article is what every individual is looking for, if it isn't for you then move on to one that is. And if nothing interests you then let us know what does and we will do what we can to include it here. 419.609.5850


A case of Romper Room with little tots?

"Teenager becomes the 16th gang member convicted of killing 15-year-old at Victoria Station as he is jailed for 11 years"


I remember years ago that the advice was given that if there are more than 3 teenagers hanging around together, that's a gang and one should call police. Kept alot of old ladies busy!


not just old ladies. not just old people.



I caught your last comment about " that will change soon", Before, you re- wrote it.

I believe that people will say anything they wish, whether under a username or not. Public or not. I know I have done both.


There are crazies out there looking for fight who have been on HERE to physically threaten anyone who's opinion they don't like.

The excuses of "they're just kids" or "they're getting picked on because they're black " is getting tiresome.

So SR, Do what you will.


Anyone notice how they removed the ANONYMOUS and put SANDUSKY REGISTER STAFF! up now? Why the change??????? This paper is officially a JOKE. I once had my full first and last name as the username on my Profile and I noticed when I used my full first and last name The Sandusky Register would allow others to attack me but anytime I said something back My comment was removed while there's stayed up. I figured as a local business owner to just remove it.

thinkagain's picture

The SR is aware that there are several commentators who’s only contributions are limited to personal attacks. Yet each day they are allowed unfettered access to continue their taunts. My own personal troll being one of them.

Jason Werling

"Inappropriate? Alert Us" is not unfettered. Please utilize it.


Good, could you go back to removing posts that contain a very offensive word aimed at those with a disability? Matt Westerhold used to be good at making sure they were removed promptly (including ones that just use a shortened term for them) but lately they've been allowed to stay even after being reported numerous times.

thinkagain's picture

There are only two reasons why you would offer such an inadequate and false reply.

1 – The “Inappropriate? Alert Us” link is non-functional and you are not aware that said button has been pressed numerous times with no result.

2 – You have no idea how to properly moderate a comment section.

Stop It

"Inappropriate? Alert Us" doesn't work if no-one looks at it and fails to follow through.

Jason Werling

huronguy- there was no conspiracy here. You pointed out that it said anonymous, which is what posts when we do not put an author to our stories. 

Damon does not have a username set up yet so I switched it to Sandusky Register Staff to make it more clear for our readers.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

This is very much true. It was the same for me. No conspiracy.

Tru Grit

Jason, I think you should have Damon come to anyone of the DYS facilities and see the 13-15 year old gang members in either of the "heartless felons" or "head busta" that are in the youth system. these kids while young are committing adult crimes, felonious assualt, aggrevated assualt, and the list goes on. You might then have a different perspective on what you think is gang activity. If what happened at that apartment complex happened at my facility down in Massillon at Indian River, it would have been a "gang" related signal. These kids acted as a collective group creating a serious disturbance, that is gang mentality and activity. These kids are not just "kids" these are teenagers who try and act like the people they see rapping and the older adults in their lifes or that they see in society act like this and want to be just like them. I am telling you right now from personal experience with young violent offenders the worst ohio has to offer, you treat a kid like a kid he is going to try to get away with anything and everything. I am glad these kids were chraged with the crimes they committed and maybe they might understand my life path sucks and needs to change.

Jason Werling

Tru Grit- I am not arguing for or against Damon's opinion, just that it is his opinion and he is putting himself out there by using his real name to write a column for the Register and to have it posted here as a blog. This is something that the reporters, bloggers and letter-to-the-editor community members do every day.

Darwin's choice

Did you not see the comment by "Dick Tracey" above? The statement made by the felon is an outright lie! Is this what you do everyday?


No, Darwin, Jason has responded to everyone on here, but me.

An opinion is one thing, but what he wrote about bikers at Bike Week is an outright lie.

Where does Damon get off cutting down bikers when he has been arrested for rape, assault, kidnapping and theft? None of my biker friends have been arrested, even the ones in "gangs" !

getit right be4...

Well your bicker friends must be white. And the county only arrest African- Americans. Did't you read the story?

I'm sure Damon was just sitting on a park bench and was picked up by the police charged and prosecuted with rape, assault, and kidnapping just to get another Africa-American off the streets and in the clink.

Jason Werling

DT- I had started to respond to your previous post, but couldn't put my thoughts into typed words in the right way. (if that makes sense).

I'm not sure if this gets my point across, but Damon never attributed murders, brawls, etc. to bike gangs as they visit our Bike Week. But did say there is an influx to Erie County of the same gangs as they come here showing their colors. Although, as you state, they do not cause many problems while having a good time during our Ohio Bike Week.

Sorry for the delay in the response, but I had some important Tribe-losing to watch.


"This is something that the reporters, bloggers and letter-to-the-editor community members do every day."

You know what your average reporter, blogger and letter-to-the-editor community member DON'T do every day?

Rape people >.<




I do think you are blowing this out of hand. As a former member of a gang. This is not new as a kid growing up we had fights with boys from Detroit and it wasn't a gang thing. Some of what Damon said is true just last summer I witnessed a group of guys fighting at Daly's mostly white and not one was called a gang member.


As I child, I was taught that "you are judged by the company you keep." The families of those involved would do well to remember that.

/no racism involved, just common sense/

Tru Grit

Jason, I know your not. I am simply saying I don't think he would feel that way if he saw with his own eyes 13-15 year old kids putting CO's and other youths in the hospital and doing it because they are in a gang and are told to do it.

Jason Werling

I'm sure Damon will be checking back in to read the comments here and would welcome constructive dialog like this.

Stop It

Damon Newell has a racist POV, IMHO.

Pastor Ron

Is this column going to be done by Register personnel past and present? If so, will the guy who got in trouble having sex with his picnic table be doing a column on how to care for patio furniture?


Getting back to Damon's opinion, I think that these are troubled youth. I don't have enough information about them to determine whether or not they are officially a gang, but they acted in concert at the time of the incident.

Given the facts that no one was seriously injured and no weapons were involved, I, too, think the charges levied against them are overblown. Should there be charges? Absolutely, but let's be more realistic about them.


"A convicted felon who has served prison time, Newell was born and raised in Sandusky."

Check criminal record here for start. Check other records.

Fine citizen of Sandusky, Ohio?


Centauri, I saw his record at 5:00, before I posted to Jason. I held my anger and said nothing, but I find it very interesting that he has the guts to cut down bikers, when he has done far worse than 99% of the biker crowd at Bike Week. Also, Jason came on and responded to everyone else's comment, but not mine.

Apparently , just because you put your real name on a story, you can write lies about bikers and bike clubs and Bike Week.

I find it repulsive that the Register handed this felon a microphone to call call our prosecutor a racist. It's obvious Damon still harbors quite a bit of anger towards Erie Counties law enforcement.

After all, I'm sure they only arrested him 25 times because he is black.

Jason Werling

DT- I'll get back to this after the Tribe game. I wasn't avoiding your post.

getit right be4...

If he was a whit guy he would of been handed ice-cream and cake for all of his charges.

But instead he was sent to the clink for just being a black citizen.


Your wrong Damon was born in iowa


"Damon Newell is a pressman at the Register and a CONTRIBUTOR at"

Big Dog maybe? Just kidding.


"A fight between teenagers and a dozen men."

What teenager fights with a man over a basketball game? One on one this would not happen. But with a gang, reputation is the driving force.

If you want to fight with men then take your punishment as men. No sugar coating needed here. Remember, your reputation is in question. Man up.

Ned Mandingo

Wow what a bitter racists article.

Julie R.

A lot of the things this man has said is the truth.


@ Jason First, people don't post with their real name because those 'children' in the video would look up their names and addresses and destroy their homes, vehicles, and try to take their lives for pointing out the obvious... that they are unsupervised, amoral, violent thugs, as are the majority of commentators here that like to push the Register's race war agenda.

Racism is dead, most people aren't racist... if you refuse to have a blood transfusion because you think the blood may have come from another race, you are racist. If you refuse to let a surgeon operate on you because he/she is a different race, you are racist. If you see one of these kids approaching your car and lock the doors, it simply means you aren't an 'idiot' trying to upgrade your status to 'victim'.

One gang was from Detroit, the other from Sandusky... do you really think that a group of 'children' from Detroit just decided to go on vacation and drive to Sandusky to start a fight with some random people?? They are drug dealers, one and all. They were in a brawl over their drug territory. Now, if I said everyone who lives in Pioneer Trail was a drug dealer, I'd be making a false statement based off a stereotype; however, everyone in the video are gang bangers and thugs and the video proves it.

Great job posting inflammatory commentary from a convicted rapist so that you can fuel your 'black-pitted-against-white' agenda. Racism is dead, but I guess the Register believes if they resurrect it they might sell more newspapers.

Bottom Line

Spot on.

Jason Werling

Subtle- Your name doesn't fit your post. You have been very upfront with your opinion, not subtle at all and I'm not saying that is a bad thing. There is no agenda here as we have been allowing inflammatory commentary for years now with our community in the comments section.

And I do hear what you have to say about anonymous commenting.

Yes, the Register is a business and our business is providing information, news, opinions, photos and whatever might be useful or of interest to our community. There are no rules on where that information or opinion comes from as it can be from anyone white or black, old or young, or someone with or without a criminal record.

The choice resides with you whether you want to read it or not, and with our current website, whether you would like to express your thoughts or not.

I can't speak to what the intentions were of those involved as I was not there that night. Damon expressed his opinion on the matter and it has led to a somewhat healthy conversation here in the comments. And I stress "somewhat."


Not only is the author nothing more than a criminal with no moral compass that is incapable of understanding decent society, he is also factually incorrect. The county did take action against one MC, for example by assisting in the harassment and arrest of some 34 men during the funeral proceedings of a local leader of a club.

The New World Czar

While I've rolled my eyes at the article itself, Mr. Newell does have a right as a citizen to compose an op-ed.

The SR putting this on the reader's forum opens the contributor and the newspaper up for ridicule. Didn't anyone learn from past experiences with one Rufus Sanders? Oh, that's hits, anything for revenue.

Jason Werling

Why does this open the newspaper up for ridicule? Because he is born and raised in Sandusky? Because he has a criminal record? Because of the color of his skin? Damon did not hide from his past and I would guess he knew full well what he would be up against when he wrote what he wrote.

The first sentence of your post was correct, he does have a right, but the word "ridicule" in your second sentence could be replaced with the words "serious debate" or "societal commentary."


It's pretty simple, criminals always condone and advocate criminal behavior. It's likely Damon, based off his lengthy criminal record, did not have an ideal upbringing, one that most likely lacked parental guidance and the kind of involvement that helps impressionable teens develop a sense of right and wrong. Instead of writing an editorial to the parents of this group of teens, or even writing to the teens themselves, he more or less condoned their behavior and blamed the police who were doing their job. How often do you see residents from housing projects in larger cities complaining on the news that the police ignore what is going on in their neighborhood...or simply don't care. You can't have it both ways.

It wasn't a basketball dispute, that fact has been verified by individuals involved in the dispute, but even if it were, the behavior is still unacceptable. The most important thing you can teach a young adult is that their actions have consequences. If you let the brawl slide, the next time one of them will bring a knife... then the next time a gun. I wonder if Damon's opinion would be different if one of those children had pulled a gun and the stray bullets had killed some scared toddler hiding behind the couch in one of the adjacent apartments.

The police, Perkins and Sandusky alike, don't turn a blind eye to crimes that are caught on camera, even if it were a member of law enforcement, a local judge, or a state senator... why because it's too easy for the video to leak and then everyone loses their job when the story breaks nationally. If those teens had been white, or Hispanic, or Asian, they would still have arrested every person they could identify.


Well its pretty likely you are wrong since he was raised by one of Sandusky finest.


Well its pretty likely you are wrong since he was raised by one of Sandusky finest.


Ok have it your way... evil soul born evil, what do you want from me; I heard it's the politically correct way to go to point to socioeconomic factors as a root cause of behavior as reprehensible as his. I guess, with your comment in mind, "bad seed is bad" kindof sums it up. Keep in mind we aren't talking about petty crimes like just some kid caught smoking pot on the corner with his friends or shoplifting, we're talking sexual battery just as the tip of the iceberg...

Simple Enough II

Maybe the article 4th shooting suspect arrested", would help the Mr. Newell understand that yeah, its not racial its criminal behavior we have a problem with. By themselves they are to chicken sheet to do these things but in a group it becomes pack mentality and it can get very ugly quickly for someone!


@ Jason
Did you ever stop to think how his rape victim might feel seeing your newspaper give him an open forum to voice his opinion? I wonder how the tables might be turned if it was a member of your family that he had raped...
Opinions are more fun when they are controversial, right?


Dbstr....have you ever considered that maybe, JUST maybe, that Damon was 18 and dating a 17 year old whom he had consensual sex with and then the girls parents pressed rape charges on him because they couldn't stand to see their white baby girl with a black man!?!?...I'm NOT saying that this IS the case, but before you know exactly what the case entailed, how about u don't just assume that he just went out and raped some random chick!!..I know Damon, he is a good guy, yes, he did some things and had to serve his time, but does that make him scum for the rest of his life???..That is the problem with society now, people look up your record and ASSume that they know all about you because of what they read online!!...Many of you act like people can't be rehabilitated and change their lives for the better!!!
..At least he has a JOB at the register, so he obviously learned from his mistakes and is living his life in a good fashion now!....And for everyone else who is dogging him and making statements like he must not have had any involved parents in his life, his father was a police officer for MANY years and his mother is one of the nicest people you will ever meet!!...He had a good upbringing, with parents who loved him and tried to steer him in the right direction, but once a child turns 18, it is up to them to apply what their parents installed in them....Damon made some mistakes at a younger age...I have made mistakes in my many of you people on here commenting have NEVER made any kind of life altering mistake!?!?!?....Come on people...grow up and understand that a person is not trash just because of their past!!!....If that were the case, then there sure would be ALOT of trashy people in this world!!...Damon....i commend you for even getting on here and using your REAL name to state YOUR opinions!!!


If his dad was an officer of the law, he should know that police don't arrest people because of the color of their skin, they arrest them because they committed a crime, plain and simple.

Julie R.

Imalley77's comment makes sense. Does anybody really know the circumstances behind this man's record that everybody is crucifying him for?

A good example of a joke criminal record ---- take the disbarred Oak Harbor attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner. Her criminal record is the following:

1. Intimidation
2. Falsification
3. Intimidation/Public Servant/Party Official
4. Possessing Criminal Tools

"Intimidation of a Public Servant/Party Official" was for calling some corrupt old rent-a-judge corrupt and the "criminal tools" the corrupt clowns said she was "in possession of" was her COMPUTER.


@ Julie
I'm not sure of your idea of a joke, but 1st degree felony rape isn't a joke to most people. No one is crucifying him, he put himself in this position by committing these acts by his own free will. Just because someone is the same race as you doesn't mean you HAVE to defend all of their actions. I, for one, will NOT do it.

Julie R.

I don't think rape is a joke and I would never come to the defense of a rapist. I just pointed out how the legal system can and does fabricate idiot criminal charges against people. So how many years did he get for a brutal rape? Was it more or less than eight? (enough said)


Julie, in your attempt to continually criticize the judges and prosecutor , you are going so low as to take the side of a rapist?

This guy brutally raped and beat a woman , among 24 other crimes, but you are going to give him the benefit of the doubt because his article is cutting down the very system you hate on!

You have reached new lows today Julie, as a woman, you should be ashamed for sticking up for a rapist. SICK!




Elsebeth Baumgartner a 50 something white woman charged with intimidation/retaliation for internet comments and federal lawsuits alleging a retired visiting judge was protecting corrupt activity (case fixing, drug trafficking and sex crimes by local law enforcement and prosecutors)and intimidation/retaliation of her former business partner by internet comments including a parody of an Eminem rap song. She received 8 years in prison (4 years for the judge case and 4 years for her former business partner case)

The business partner was given an unlimited platform by the Register to spread his side of the story but he never provided the public with the actual "threats" that were posted because he shut the website down as requested by a certain local government attorney (and associates) with a proven allegation of drug abuse. The shut down occurred, despite the fact that he didn't own the website and had received tens of thousands of dollars in payments from Baumgartner.

The Register, supposed guardian of the First Amendment never questioned or allowed Baumgartner an opportunity to publish the so called "threatening statements" that frightened a veteran judge and former Marine to find if they rose to the level of "true threats" that are not protected by the First Amendment as opposed to the type of political hyperbole found on this website. In fact under the precedent of the Baumgartner case most anonymous posters and Mr. Newell are subject to indictment for intimidation for making "false statements".

Now in a somewhat related story, we learn that the law enforcement officers who assisted in the raid of her home based on false information provided by her "victim" were found by two courts to have lied under oath and fabricated evidence in a drug case. In short they made false statements to "intimidate".

My point is charges are trumped up for political reasons (and were in Baumgartner's case) but it doesn't sound like the charges against these teenagers were trumped up to me. If internet comments can justify felony charges and prison time, then the behavior on the video certainly qualified too.

Julie R.



@ Lmalley77
Yes, I considered that until someone brought up his rap sheet that lists his rape as 1st degree rape NOT 3rd degree rape which happens to be statutory rape. First degree rape (a.k.a. Felony Rape) is charged whenever a rape results in serious bodily injury or death to the victim. So maybe that helps you out on my opinion of this individual. Good guys don't rape and kidnap people.
Now you have me questioning your opinion. What kind of person are you that you would condone this type of behavior and try to brush it under the rug as if it was a lesser charge than it is. Trying to convince me and others that it was a simple boyfriend/girlfriend situation when you probably DO know what the real charge was. Shameful. :(
I wasn't discussing his parents, there are plenty of people that have good parents and then go on to do bad things.
You should take your own advice next time and not ASSume that I hadn't already looked into it prior to posting. Although it is most likely that you already knew that.


Imalley77, you need to do a little more research on your "friend" that you call a "good guy".

I just got done reading the BRUTAL details of his beating and brutal rape of his CRACK CUSTOMER, that he said owed him money for past debt!

Do your homework, before you ASSume, he is a "good guy" .

This is not an Op-Ed, it is his chance to criticize the prosecutor that sent him to prison, for what Damon calls consensual barter sex for crack.



Did you ever stop and consider the victim has now changed her story

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Damon, I agree with your sentiment that youth are a very precious resource. It becomes a complicated mess after something has gone wrong because there are systems and laws that are supposed to offer justice, rehabilitation, incarceration, or just set an example. But what happens before those incidents of poor decision making is much more crucial. If children aren't taught nor raised civilly by any combination of parent, mentor, faith, neighbor, etc. to hold value in other people or their things then these decisions will come naturally since they are a primitive reaction.

It's heartbreaking because in some cases these kids literally don't know better. Yet, they are held responsible in a society that generally does. It's a hard lesson and unless there is followup by the entities above, this will begin a lifelong spiral down of never advancing past this mentality and understanding.

There's also the fact that kids just do dumb and dangerous things on impulse. Not even a "Superman Syndrome". But, I am willing to have faith that as this incident gets meted out the circumstances will come to light for each of them and a hopefully appropriate punishment/rehabilitation will begin.


The Hero Zone- great post,thank you!


gang 1 (gng)
1. A group of criminals or hoodlums who band together for mutual protection and profit.
2. A group of adolescents who band together, especially a group of delinquents.
3. Informal A group of people who associate regularly on a social basis: The whole gang from the office went to a clambake.
4. A group of laborers organized together on one job or under one foreperson: a railroad gang.
5. A matched or coordinated set, as of tools: a gang of chisels.
a. A pack of wolves or wild dogs.
b. A herd, especially of buffalo or elk. See Synonyms at flock1.
v. ganged, gang·ing, gangs
To band together as a group or gang.
1. To arrange or assemble into a group, as for simultaneous operation or production: gang several pages onto one printing plate.
2. To attack as an organized group.
Phrasal Verb:
gang up
1. To join together in opposition or attack: The older children were always ganging up on the little ones.
2. To act together as a group: various agencies ganging up to combat the use of illicit drugs.

Ned Mandingo

It's clear that whoever wrote this article is a racist. He just happens to be a black convicted felon. That doesn't change anaything.


This is really about choices and consequences. Law enforcement have a duty to keep the whole community safe. What a convicted felon finds acceptable may not be acceptable to other community members. I certainly would not feel safe if a group of youths came into my apartment block and behaved as they all did. I certainly would be very disappointed if they were not held accountable for their actions.

The Bizness

Jason, just do as Pop Science did, and shut off comments for good.


Now why would he do that? Controversial subjects bring in a lot of web traffic. It doesn't matter if things are getting out of hand or if a race war is being started, it is all about the hits (page views).

thinkagain's picture

Some websites have eliminated pseudonyms for their forums as a way to promote civility. It hasn’t worked.

Too many people don’t care if the world knows who they are when they say asinine things on the Internet.

Requiring a Facebook log-in is a joke. Which one of my several profiles would you like me to use?

When the Chronicle Telegram made the switch, they lost the majority of the regulars. All semblance of intellectual debate was lost. The commenting style became typical of Facebook’s inane one line status updates. Civility did not improve.

Ellis dee

Black people are allowed to be racist. That is all that needs to be said


Ok since some commentators here are trying to paint a rosy picture of Damon and his family and minimize his past transgressions in much the same way Damon's article minimized the transgressions of the youths in question, here are the UNDISPUTED facts directly out of court records (

{¶ 5} The following undisputed facts are relevant to the issues raised on appeal.
This case arises from an incident in the city of Sandusky on October 1, 2003. Appellant, a crack cocaine dealer, was riding around Sandusky in a motor vehicle with three acquaintances. The vehicle was driven by Shawn Vessey. Appellant was a front seat passenger. Robin Aumend, the victim and one of appellant's crack customers, was seated in the backseat with another passenger, Alvin Lee.

{¶ 6} The vehicle stopped behind a Laundromat. Appellant demanded to switch places with Lee, positioning himself next to Aumend. Appellant believed Aumend had shortchanged him on drug transactions. Appellant struck and punched the victim. Appellant forcibly engaged in various acts of intercourse with Aumend. Aumend did not consent. Aumend sustained significant bruising. DNA evidence confirmed appellant committed the sexual acts. Aumend reported the rape several hours after it occurred.

{¶ 7} Appellant claims the incident was not rape, but merely a "sex for crack" transaction necessitated by Aumend's inability to pay her crack debt. Appellant concedes being a crack dealer. Appellant concedes supplying crack cocaine to Aumend. Appellant concedes engaging in acts of intercourse with Aumend on October 1, 2003.

{¶ 8} On May 14, 2004, appellant was indicted for two counts of kidnapping, in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(4), two counts of rape in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(2), and two counts of cocaine trafficking in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1).

I guess Damon and some of the commentators here would probably paint the above as:

'just some friends riding around in a car wrongly accused by “The Erie County Threat Matrix”, a place where they think if they repeat words like rape, cocaine dealer, kidnapping and dangerous — often enough — residents will be too scared to realize Erie County is preparing to send up their children.'

"And for everyone else who is dogging him and making statements like he must not have had any involved parents in his life, his father was a police officer for MANY years and his mother is one of the nicest people you will ever meet!!...He had a good upbringing, with parents who loved him and tried to steer him in the right direction..."

{¶ 13} At the conclusion of the victim impact statement, counsel for appellant was permitted to engage in another tirade, unabashedly impugning the victim's character and credibility. Counsel for appellant stated:

{¶ 14} "While she's in tears over there, she forgot to tell you that she's a convicted felon. She forgot to tell you that she's a crack addict. She forgot to tell you that she's currently under indictment. She went to purchase crack with $2 and no underwear. She put herself in a situation. Yes, Damon probably shouldn't have had sex with her. We
were not there. I don't live in that world. She does, he does. He tells me that it was sex for crack. She claims rape. The DNA says yes, he had intercourse with her. As far as any force that was used, we don't know. We have her word and she's an admitted liar. She's a convicted liar."

{¶ 15} The verbal attacks against the victim permeate the transcript of the sentencing hearing and all portions of the record in which appellant, his father, and his counsel, took part. This is particularly troublesome considering the case was settled by plea agreement. These attacks did not take place in the heated course of a jury trial, but during a post-plea sentencing hearing. Decency and decorum were decidedly absent.

{¶ 25} The sentencing transcript reveals a pattern. Neither appellant, appellant's father, nor counsel hold appellant responsible for what occurred. They blame appellant's unemployment, his need to pay rent, his girlfriend's low-paying job, his duties to his daughter, and most often, the victim.

{¶ 26} Appellant's father greatly oversimplified the nature and gravity of the circumstances. Appellant's father asserted, "He's just a hardworking young man. And he's been a hardworking young man up until, like I said, just til he lost his job and lost his way for a moment. And since being charged with this, he hasn't committed any other crimes. So he's basically not a menace to society. He's just a young man who's lost his way for a minute." Such an interpretation of the circumstances does not comport with the record.

I'm not sure if Beverly Newell, the attorney that berated the victim in #14 above is his mother or not (clearly some relation) but if that is the case she does not qualify as "one of the nicest people you will ever meet".

It is specifically 13, 14,15, 25 & 26 that make me state that he did not have a proper upbringing, and was not taught that actions have consequences that we have to accept responsibility for. Instead they blame the prosecutors, the victim, the Erie County Probation Department, and the other officer that testified for Damon's conviction even en lieu of the undisputed facts conceded to by Damon himself.

That mentality permeates his article... blame the Sandusky Police Department and the city prosecutors... make it a race issue; because certainly it's not the fault of the 'children' involved or their parents!


It took guts for him to write this blog and express HIS opinion on the situation. He is stating it from his point of view as someone who has been through in his personal life and how HE sees the world.

I wonder some times if black people don't see the world in a much different way than white people because of the way they are raised? They are told all through their lives about how black people are put upon, so they hear it forever.

These kids had little to no upbringing. They ran in a "pack" and they did wrong. They got busted for it.

When black kids or adults get arrested for wrong doing lately why is it that they immediately ask why the white people aren't arrested for crimes like this? Because you don't see white kids doing crimes like this would be my answer.

If they ARE doing it, they would be arrested just like these kids were. No difference. I think the black people in this community need to stop thinking the laws are different because the skin color is different.

That is NOT the truth. Sorry, Mr. Newell. I totally disagree.

Should these kids be picked up for what they did? Oh, yes. they did damage and someone needs to put a stop to what they did. Someone needs to educate them. Their parents didn't.

Don't get hung up on the "names" they were given. If you think you can help them, then do so. Instead of just writing your feelings, perhaps you should do something about educating them on proper behavior and doing the right thing before it is too late for them. I think it would be a good idea.


Does Mr. Newell have the right to an opinion? Yes. I object to giving him such a public soapbox, but he has the right to take advantage of it if it's offered. But everyone here also needs to remember that, like all of us, his opinions are shaded with his own experiences, and his experiences aren't what I'd call "savory!"

Newell wasn't convicted of penny-ante stuff. His crimes were serious. He's now out of prison and apparently has a job for which I give him all due credit. But he's going to have to forgive me for failing to take his self-righteous (and frankly racist) rant too seriously!

You can call these gang members "children" all that you like. But when "children" behave in a certain way, certain labels are going to follow. And whether they were "official" members of one gang or another, they behaved as gang members, and they certainly rumbled with KNOWN gang members! This isn't about being black or white. It's about behaving like a thug and adding insult to injury by being dumb enough to get caught on video while you do it.

As for posting under our real names, well, the truth is that I'll stop bothering with the Register all together if that becomes a requirement. At least one previous poster noted that threats are sometimes made in these blogs, and we've no way of knowing who reads comments and gets angry but says NOTHING. I certainly don't intend to deal with somebody showing up on my doorstep because something I said upset them; in fact, I'm not inclined to take the risk at ALL! Secondly, what I say is coming from ME, not my boss, not my place of business, not my friends, and not my family. Yet if my name is known, what I say will almost certainly be reflected at them, too. No, thank you!

If it helps, I DO talk like this to people face to face. But I certainly don't approach strangers on the street corner and gear up for some kind of a rant! That's a fair comparison of what it would mean if we're forced to go THAT public on these pages, and I refuse to play such a dangerous game.

Sal Dali

Well said Sam. I agree. Glad to see someone else recognizes the possible dangers associated with using our real identities. Although you post far more than I do, I would stop participating as well, it is a dangerous game.


I would also like to know why Damon continually refers to "caucasians" to make comparisons. This op-ed is nothing but fuel to start a racial issue. What exactly do white people have to do with those African American boys getting themselves into trouble? Why weren't Hispanics or Asians brought up?
I feel that if Damon Newell had really learned his lesson while in prison and made a full turn around that he wouldn't be writing an opinion article making excuses, condoning bad behavior, and trying to convince the viewer that these African American children were only misbehaving because white people NEVER get in trouble. That is all that I got out of that entire article that these kids got a bad rap and white people don't ever get into trouble for anything.
Now any of us that don't agree with Damon have to worry about him getting our personal information and retaliating. He is an employee at the SR and by default that gives him access to our information. Hopefully SR is 100% sure that he has changed his ways because female staff members really shouldn't be put in that situation. People that don't have criminal minds don't write nonsense like this. People that get special treatment for committing crimes write stuff like this.


Here is what I do like, everyone gets to put their opinion out. Could you fathom trying to hold this topic for discussion in a public arena? The noise/fist fighting, etc. btw Jason W. how many yellow, blacks, browns, etc. does the Register employ? Thanxs.


Children should be home and in bed at one AM and parents should check to make sure they are where they are supposed to be. Of course that only works if the parents are home.

AJ Oliver

Mr. Newell's Op-ed is well argued and well written. It made me think. Although people are fully responsible for their actions, and gangs merit prosecution; it is nonetheless the case that African Americans have good reason to question police and prosecutorial behavior. There is a long history in the U.S. of grossly unequal justice - much of it driven by the sort of hateful ignorance on display in these blog comments.
White privilege is real and it is out there . .
Let me repeat what I have argued previously. If you attack a person or group or business or etc. while hiding behind the curtain of anonymity you are a coward.

Stop It

Go and join Alice in Wonderland, Mr. Oliver. I had a factor of the IRS ask me for my SS# on the phone the other day and I asked her if she was stupid? She immediately understood and gave me options to confirm my identity.

In other words, anonymity doesn't make one a coward, it just makes them aware. How long did it take someone a while back to look up files on you? Go sing yourself a lullaby and when you wake up, make certain it's in the 21st century.

Sal Dali

There will always be someone that disagrees with what anyone else has to say on here--good or bad; people do not always agree. When we use our "real" name, it becomes a personal attack from those commenting back. All one need do is look back at previous egregious comments to realize that. Who is going to ensure that one of the radicals/crazies out there who may or may not necessarily blog or comment will not become a "real" life stalker? Most participants are local. Personalizing our comments by signing our name may narrow down those who spew negativity or racially provocative comments but it will likely produce the same commentators commenting and responding to each other daily as usual. It will become very boring very quickly and the SR will lose online readers here as well as participants. Would you use the "honor system" and trust each blogger will use their "real" name? ha
In response to Mr. Newell's thoughts--What do you propose we do to deter these "children" from this type of behavior?


This is by far the most idiotic, racist, POS I've ever read on this awful newspaper.


What happened in this incident was undoubtedly gang violence. Answer this question Damon, why wasn't this dispute over a basketball game settled on the basketball court? It was carried over until the dark, in a residential neighborhood, where glass was broken and BB guns were used to shoot at the opposing gang. This is only gang violence, there is nothing else it could be.

It takes a true racist to see this as anything other than gang violence. I challenge the Sandusky Register to have the common decency to remove this racist bulletin from their page. I further ask them to have Damon Newell removed from their panel of writers because he is obviously a racist and cannot hold a neutral mind when writing articles for your readers.

If this is not met, I will bring this article to higher media light and show other cities just how racist the Sandusky Newspaper can be. They clearly cannot hold an equal mind and discriminate against Caucasians in this area.


Lisa Alley: Are you really speaking in defense of what this "guy" did? It was not that he was 18 years old and had a girlfriend who was 17-don't be ridiculous. He raped a 31 year old female because she could not pay for the drugs HE sold her-threatening to shoot her. When he was done raping her, he spit at her and told her he hoped she got pregnant! How do we know this? His buddies ratted him out and he plead guilty! I would suggest you do your research prior to defending a DANGEROUS RAPIST. I see mud-and its not on my face.

WEE CARE DAYCARE- I can NOT believe you allow this monster to be associated with a little league team you sponsor. A dangerous, felon...SEX OFFENDER is coaching children you sponsor! SHAME ON YOU! Next thing you know he will be working at the daycare changing baby diapers.

Damon-Your opinion isn't worth the digital ink its printed in. The SR should not only be EMBARASSED by the fact that they allowed your race-baiting garble to be spewed on their website, but they should also be humiliated that they employ you.

Your "article" is a mere fairytale-with very little (if any) fact. You said no weapons were used-another fallacy. From the original article: "The video shows the suspects throwing glass bottles and various items at each other, with some of the assailants allegedly carrying knives, frying pans, sticks and even a crowbar. One Detroit man used a BB gun to shoot at two boys, who were both struck in the torso." WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION?? LOL

YOU and those like YOU are the problem with our community. Do NOT make excuses for these little punks. I don't care if these "kids" are 14,15, 17, 18-they MUST BE PROSECUTED. Just as YOU should have been prosecuted when you started catching buildings on fire. All true, according to police records.

Jason Werling: From what I was told YOU refused to publish an announcement for the benefit of a young area woman, Kelly Figueroa, who has terminal cancer anywhere but the community events section-BUT THIS is worth the ink? Then, you passive-aggressively defend this criminal's whale of a fairytale. "Print coupons", you said. Give me a break. You want to know another reason why people don't use their REAL NAMES? What's the best predictor of future behavior? PAST behavior. God forbid I say something against a dangerous criminal such as this and he seeks revenge. After all, he IS a kidnapper, arsonist, assaultive rapist, gun slinging drug dealer. I don't want him to know who I am and find out where I live. MAYBE you should run an article about a convicted dangerous rapist living in metro housing that he is not registered at, receiving food stamps, who smokes dope while working in the PRESS ROOM at the Sandusky Register and coaches little league. Yes, that would be a better use of your time and web space.

Maybe the 3 teens who were running around town today robbing a house with a gun should just be let go, too. SMH

dorothy gale



Nice post! And yet still no answer from Jason. He must have been watching the Browns. He was quick to defend this thug when it first went up.

Jason, since you seem so open minded and willing to give Damon a second chance, would you let Damon babysit your kids?

Jason Werling

DT- Yes, I was watching the Browns game, but glad I came back to check this today.

cockynurse- your post was well-written and to the point with your point-of-view, something many people have asked for here in the comments.

I haven't argued in support of Damon's past and don't know him that well, just in passing at the Register. So no DT, I wouldn't ask him to watch my kids just as you wouldn't with someone you may have talked to a couple times at work.

As many have pointed out here Damon has a criminal record and from one of our conversations he is in the process of getting his life back on track including his job at the Register.

Giving him or anyone else in the community the space to speak isn't anything new for a newspaper or a newspaper website. His words offend some, but to others in our community his words may hit closer to home and are more of a way of life. Just as other bloggers post their opinion and some may not agree with that.

Providing a place where people from all backgrounds can have their voice heard and their opinions debated is what I hope the Register can foster and grow in the future. 

Regarding "from what I was told": We handle a great deal of information on a daily and some of that information does fall through the cracks, but Kelly Figueroa does not ring a bell with me. I've checked my messages and e-mail and couldn't locate anything about her. As I have stated before, my e-mail is open and my phone number is posted. If the person who told you this would like to contact me to discuss this further, please have them do so, but I do not recall the benefit.  

My "printing coupons" comment was taken out of context. I was trying to point out how much information is available at our network of sites. Judgement of the Register by one column in one newspaper over 365 days a year and the past 185 years is what newspapers have had to balance since their inception.

If there are people in the community you think would make a good blogger and addition to any of our sites, please let me know. We are in the process of reaching out to more community members.

This community, both the Sandusky-area and our web community here, is important to me. I wouldn't have taken a new role with the Register if they weren't. Both communities are diverse in race, age and economic status and I don't see how more points-of-view that are available is a bad thing. If a reader isn't interested in reading a particular point-of-view, they have the ability to move on.

Please keep the conversation going.


Jason, earlier in this thread you asked why this column opens the paper up for ridicule. Look, he's entitled to express his opinion, but the Register doesn't have to give him a byline. As a violent felon, his credibility is nil, especially on the subject of appropriate responses to violent criminal behavior, given the obvious conflict of interest. By elevating him to a columnist, as opposed to a letter to the editor author or commenter, you're giving him the Register's seal of approval, and throwing the fate of the Register's credibility in with his. Members of a newpaper's editorial team are supposed to be chosen based on legitimate indicators that they will have something meaningful and useful to say. This column is just a criminal whining about "the man." Could he potentially offer some insights into diverson strategies, based on his own history? Yes, but instead, he merely minimizes their offenses and tosses the race card on the table, all supported by false accusations.

To ask how this opens the Register up for ridicule is being ridiculously coy. To suggest that it's because of his race is the kind of sophistry that should be beneath you as a serious journalist. Given the awards about which the Register is constantly crowing, we have every reason to expect better than this. You claim he's rehabilitated, but this column militates otherwise - he's making excuses for lawless, violent thug behavior, the sort of thing that suggests he harbors the same illusions about the acceptability of such behavior that played a role in his past crimes.

Also, your defense of his comments about bike week is really reaching. Any parallelism with the case currently under discussion rests upon an implication that bikers committed those acts during bike week. These punks are not being prosecuted for past behavior of their fraternal cohort, but rather for their own current personal actions. He asked how the city could welcome those bikers in - law enforcement apparently welcomed these thugs from Detroit, and didn't give them so much as a harsh look until they committed the criminal acts in question, so, for there to be any questionable disparity in their treatment compared to that of bike week visitors, the latter would have to have personally committed the acts he mentions proximate to the treatment under comparison.

You and Damon can make all the excuses you want; everyone knows that these kids were not exactly pillars of the community, and their actions were fueled by a lack of respect for the law, the property or bodily integrity of others, or many other elements of the social contract upon which our civilization rests. If you had evidence to the contrary, you'd have played that card by now, and none of us are going to hold our breath waiting for a revelation that one of these punks was an Eagle Scout or National Merit Scholar.

Regarding anonymity in the comment section, the tradition of anonymous social comment is long and esteemed, from Ben Franklin and James Madison to the present day. Typically, whenever someone in an online forum condemns anonymous commenting, a little digging reveals that either a)they believe their own identity should afford them unearned credibility ("do you KNOW who I am?") or b) they seek the identity of those with whom they disagree in order to find hooks on which to hang ad hominem attacks. If you're willing to stick to the topic and address the ideas expressed, then you don't need to know or care WHO expressed them.


@cockynurse: I present you with this questions: Do you feel that no one is worth rehabilitation for their wrongs? That no one can pay for what they do and change? If that is the case, then we might just as well lock people away for the remainder of their lives and throw away the keys or just end their lives after convictions. It sure sounds that way. You seem to think tht NO ONE who is convicted of a crime EVER shakes that persona and never gets better.

Your "handle" is "cockynurse" and like me, I would think you are a nurse. Come now, people recover all the time from dissease and infliction and you know what. They also recover from diseases of the mind with proper treatment, so why not people like him? You have taken the attitue of dismissal without any forgiveness whatsoever. I would think as a nurse, that wouldn't be the case.

Even "kids robbing with guns in neighbors" if given the chance to change" would do so", so why the all or nothing attitude toward Past behavior only? You give NO credit that given some help and some chances they can do better.

I hope that as you live your life you NEVER need someone to give YOU a chance and they refuse. I hope you meet just the opposite, a loving and caring soul who is willing to see the potential good in people and the willingness to assist in nurtering that good. It so much more worth it than you will ever know.



People do make mistakes and they can learn from them. That's why these "kids" need prosecuted NOW-so they don't think they are above the law and turn out like the writer of this blog with a rap sheet such as his.

Get your head out of la-la land. As I said previously, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Don't defend these "kids" behavior and make excuses for them. Give them some tough love so they grow to be decent young men instead of rapid thugs like they are behaving like in the video.



I SO applaud you! Brilliant.

dorothy gale

Yes, they ARE kids and they were out past curfew, looking for trouble, making trouble, and they and their parents SHOULD be held responsible.


@ AJ Oliver and your link to This is my commentary on that archaic piece written in 1988 (My comments appear below each numbered statement in the list by the original author). Real quality web design on that page by the way…almost as dated as the content.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

- There isn’t a race in the US that can say this. Everywhere I go I see people of all races.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

- I wasn’t trained to mistrust anyone, I’ve learned to mistrust people who are behaving in a threatening manner, be they white, black, Hispanic, or Asian. The average income in the area where I am at that time seems to play a larger role than race.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

- I provide service to the single wealthiest gated community in the Cleveland area and there are 6 white families out of 19 houses. If you have the financial means you can live wherever you want.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

- The behavior in any neighborhood is directly reflective of the average income of that neighborhood, the number of single parent households, and the average number of children per family. I can think of a certain neighborhood near downtown Cleveland with no African American families (that I am aware of) that I wouldn’t walk through at night if you paid me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

- Anyone of any race can go shopping without harassed provided they are behaving and dressed appropriately. Regardless of race, if you are dressed like a bum and harassing other customers and drawing attention to yourselves through your actions, you are going to be followed and probably asked to leave.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

- I find it hard to believe that this was even an issue in 1988 when this article was written. Now if we are speaking of Hispanic or Asian representation, yeah currently it is a little light but far from nonexistent.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

- Please provide the name of an African American with a historical contribution that is not represented in US history books or discussions?

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

- Really? Too outlandish to respond to even in 1988.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

- Not as poorly written as this is. You’re no Alice Walker

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

- If you are the only person of your race in a large group, the only chance you have of being heard is if it’s introduction time at an AA meeting.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

- Regardless of race, casual has nothing to do with it, unless you are the keynote speaker, expect to be basically ignored.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

- Have you been in Kroger’s (or any grocery store) lately I’m pretty sure they even stock food supplies eaten only by a specific sect of monks living in the Tibetan foothills… really

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

- If you look like you can afford what you are buying they don’t even ask for an ID when you use your credit card; at least that was the case with the people who stole my credit card and then used it to buy a TV w/o being carded… they weren’t white.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

- Anyone can, but it helps if you know where your kids are at 1am.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

- No one does, racism is dead. Well it would be if parents (and certain newspapers) would quit trying to push it on their children.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.

- If you are any race other than white, you can get away with more in both school and work, maybe not in ’88 but certainly now.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

- If you talk with your mouthful it is commentary on your upbringing, not your race.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

- If you consistently swear in a public venue, it is a moral issue regardless of race. If you were second hand clothes it is an economic issue regardless of race. If you can’t read or write, you are illiterate regardless of race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

- Powerful male group huh? Uh yeah, I got nothing.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

- Pretty sure I haven’t heard that term used in my lifetime and I’m over 30.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

- Did I miss the appointment of a spokesperson for all African Americans?

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

- I’ll consider this one as soon as I meet some African Americans speaking a language other than English and don’t see signs and directions in 3 different languages everywhere.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

- Now that we have a black president, if a white person criticizes our government they are characterized as a racist even if their criticism has nothing to do with the president.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

- Last one I asked to speak to wasn’t… got my steak dinner for free.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
Yeah, because everyone isn’t just another number to the IRS. Computers spit out the list of potential audits. Last time I checked, radar guns don’t have a skin tone monitor.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.

- Who can’t? Seriously

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

- I guess that depends on what kind of meeting you went to not what color your skin is.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

- I’m pretty sure that I am likely to write up / fire both parties involved in any argument that gets my attention regardless of race.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

- I’m pretty sure that given two applicants (of any race or gender) of equal skill for any position, the Caucasian male will be the one who doesn’t get the promotion.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

- Your diction, charisma, body language, knowledge of the facts and attire influence credibility far more than skin tone, regardless of the subject.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

- Huh?

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

- Our current culture is about financial divides and entitlement, not racial divides. There are as many shows about filthy rich African Americans as there are about filthy rich white people and every kid, white or black thinks they are owed what they see on TV, from the fancy cars to the sprawling mansions.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

- It’s 2013, if you don’t bathe, people will tell you about it regardless of race, and there are more overweight white people than any other race. I’m not sure what “bearing” is, must be an 80s term.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

- Racism is dead… no worries… be happy ;)

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

- Um, this author was supposed to be speaking from the perspective of a white person. Affirmative Action was enacted for minorities. If you are white and get a job, it certainly isn’t because of your race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

- If your whole year is going badly it’s likely you are the problem, not your race. You know what they say if you bump into a jerk in the course of a day it’s unfortunate, if everyone that you bump into in the course of a day is a jerk, then it’s probably you who are the jerk.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

- I might even find one or two who are white.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

- It’s 2013, a black man can be a professional cheerleader and a white girl can start on a college football team heck, a 11 year old African American girl can get a job that earns her more money than 50% of the United States ;)

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

- You can’t be late for a meeting regardless of race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

- This was written in 1988 not 1960, didn’t apply in ’88, doesn’t apply now.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

- If I need medical help, the odds of me seeing a white doctor are pretty slim.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

- As can everyone of every race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

- If you have low credibility as a leader, it’s because you are a bad leader, not because of the color of your skin.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

- Um yeah, segregated colleges existed in 88 still…oh wait, no they didn’t. Come to think of it though, there are a couple exclusive to African Americans still in 2013.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

- What? Is this author trying to say there are no artists of any race other than white? People write, paint, and sing what they know and their art is a reflection of their culture regardless of the race composing it.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.


47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

- I guess that depends on how likable you and your spouse spouse are :P

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

- People of all races seem to take queues from their neighbors as to the socially acceptable ‘norms’. It’s pretty likely that if your lifestyle wouldn’t be approved of in a given neighborhood, you don’t have the financial resources to live there in the first place.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

- Inter-racial couples, single parent households, same-sex marriages don’t even end up on the radar these days. I guess if you are a gay male living with another male who is undergoing hormonal therapy while awaiting a sex change and raising your high school sweetheart’s daughter that you have custody of to live androgynously as a vegan then the above may still apply, but probably not for long.

50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

- I shudder to think of how different someone would have to be to be regarded by the majority of people they meet as “abnormal” these days…maybe, and this is a loose maybe, a transgender lesbian with screw in metal horns and a full face tattoo with Tourette’s Syndrome leading their girlfriend around by a leash MIGHT raise an eyebrow. A black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or Indian man walking down the street…not so much!
Racism is dead.

Mr Bean

Were these hoodlums white---would Mr Newell speak in their defense---sure............
Rehabilitation should be the watchword---but only after proper punishment. The rest is just, uh, uh, uh, Barbara Striesand.


If the same amount of energy that was used to protest was used in responsible parenting this incident would not have occurred. When the race card is used its usually used by racists.

The New World Czar

"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."

Stop for a second. Was it or was it not a group of Sandusky teenagers who beat the man senseless near the hospital a year or so ago...or brutally beat a teenager in Huron outside the festival a year or two ago?

Seriously...children and not gang members?



How many employees do you have who have violent criminal records such as this man? How about the picnic table guy?

Are all of your employees required to submit to random drug tests? If not, I think you should.


Yes SR ^^^^


When either a individual or community refuses to take responsibility for their actions, revert to blaming others and interject the race card, it never fails.


"...diminishing their opportunities to build a normal life." Or teaching them a well-earned lesson not to engage in gang violence. They're not kids, they're animals. This kind of violent behavior runs deep in that community and it must be stopped. Take a bow, SPD!

SanduskySlayer's picture

He does raise a valid point, would he of cared if it were Caucasian kids? Probably not, judging from his prior diatribes.