The Department of Justice announced federal charges have been filed against the man accused of carjacking U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Penn., earlier this week, which runs counter to the leniency often extended to looters and other violent criminals who are escorted out the back door of courthouses almost as quickly as they come through the front doors.
Josiah Brown, 19, has been charged with carjacking and carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with the crime, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced on Thursday. Brown was turned over to the custody of the FBI for formal charging, while four other teens, all under 18, were charged with receiving stolen property. Three of the teens were released to their guardians on a $1,500 unsecured bond, while the fourth teen, a 15-year-old boy charged with receiving stolen property, resisting arrest, and two counts of criminal mischief, was held on $3,500 bond.
Brown, from Wilmington, Del., who was reportedly out on bail from another crime, allegedly carjacked the Democratic congresswoman at Philadelphia’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Park as she was walking to her car.
“The fact that it happened in FDR Park, a place where so many find refuge from the hustle and bustle of urban life, is particularly upsetting,” Scanlon said afterward. “I was afraid someone would do something more stupid than just stealing a car.”
Delaware State Police announced the arrest of the five individuals, noting that they had located the car.
“On December 22, 2021, at approximately 8:18 p.m., troopers responded to the area of 2800 Fashion Center Boulevard, Newark, for a stolen vehicle that was reported to be in the parking lot. The investigation determined Philadelphia Police Department investigated the armed carjacking of Pennsylvania Mary Gay Scanlon earlier during the day where her 2017 Acura MDX was stolen,” the police statement read.
“Troopers, with the assistance of Federal Agencies, located the unoccupied stolen Acura and began conducting active surveillance. During that time, five suspects were observed entering Congresswoman Scanlon’s stolen vehicle. As Law Enforcement attempted to contact the occupants, they all attempted to flee but were ultimately apprehended. The suspects were identified as Josiah Brown, 19, of Wilmington, DE, a 14-year-old female juvenile, and 3 male juveniles ages 13, 15, and 16, all from Wilmington,” Delaware State Police said.
There is a fair argument to be made that justice under the Biden administration is anything but equal, where the person or persons committing the crime and the intended victims determine just how forceful the Justice Department moves to prosecute.
The most obvious example of this was the response to the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol compared to the reaction, or lack thereof, to the Black Lives Matter rioting last summer — in New York City, hundreds of people arrested for looting and rioting last year in the wake of George Floyd’s police-involved death had their charges dropped. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden took note that prosecutors were treating the Jan. 6th rioters significantly harsher than the BLM and Antifa rioters who’d rioted last summer.
The swift action in response to the carjacking and the manner in which the crime against a Democratic politician is being approached also suggests a two-tiered system of justice under this administration.
Scanlon was not injured during the carjacking, but her purse and phone were reportedly taken.
“The investigation into this incident is in its very initial stages, and we are continuing to investigate and evaluate charging decisions,” Williams said. “Armed carjacking is a serious federal crime. There have been a rash of violent crimes like this recently, and while there were national security implications to this particular incident, we are always working collaboratively with our local partners to evaluate if cases should be taken federally. Working together means more resources, more tools, more intelligence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you pick up a gun and use it to commit a crime, together, we will come after you. And we are very good at what we do.”
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