Teens attack woman in the Gallery

April 4, 2008 4:06:14 PM PDT
This latest attack happened just moments after the victim stepped off a SEPTA train. The victim, who asked that we identify her only as Tyesha, described her harrowing ordeal at the hands of 12 teenage thugs.

The 24-year-old mother of two said it was 8:00 Wednesday night when she walked into the sublevel of the gallery and noticed a group of teenagers having t-shirts made at a kiosk with the phrase: "Watch Your Mouth."

One of them actually yelled it out to her as she passed by, the victim said, but she kept walking. Moments later she was attacked.

"I was kicked in my back and I actually fell face forward causing my tooth on my left side of my mouth to come out," she said. "From that point on, I was kicked. I was punched in my face. I was stepped on. My things were taken. By the time I actually got up, I wasn't able to see out of my left eye."

She says the group of six African-American males and six females kept saying the phrase "watch your mouth," apparently referring to the song of the same name by the rapper group Wu-Tang Clan. The song states that a big mouth can get your teeth knocked out. Tyesha said she never said a word to her attackers.

"They just kept screaming, 'Watch your mouth. Watch your mouth. Next time watch your mouth' and this was after the kicking, the screaming and the punching," she said.

The teens ran into the subway and boarded a train on the SEPTA Broad Street line.

The victim flagged down a SEPTA agent who alerted SEPTA police. They managed to stop the train and arrest five of the alleged attackers.

The suspects in custody were identified as 19-year-old Stanley Poland, 19-year-old Christine Wearry and Tamira Sinkler. All three are from North Philadelphia. Two other suspects, a 17-year old male and a 16-year old male, also remain in custody. All five were charged with Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and other related offenses. The search for seven others continues.

A Gallery spokeswoman said they are reviewing details of the incident with police. She said, "It is our objective to complete a thorough investigation on the matter and assist the police if necessary."

The attack happened exactly a week and just five blocks from where Sean Patrick Conroy was attacked and killed by subway thugs.

Contacted in Washington tonight where he was attending an event, Mayor Michael Nutter said he is terribly concerned about this latest attack and what is happening in the city.

Meanwhile, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who is conducting a review of how SEPTA deploys its police, thinks the agency and the city need a dramatic show of force.

"I think there's going to have to be a quick response to show that the police and the city control these locations and that they're not going to turn it over to thugs," said Butkovitz.

The victim says she plans to testify with vigor against her attackers and she wants them to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated any longer in Philadelphia.