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Best of 2012 July – Jack Didley’s Assault Case Needs Facts, Investigation and Patience

One of the biggest hot button issues in the Tri-Cities is over the altercations at Jack Didley’s.

Local resident Ben Ensign went to Jack Didley’s bar in Kennewick after watching Fourth of July fireworks. He was asked to leave by bouncers and somehow during his removal from the business he sustained a skull fracture.  Police are waiting until an investigation is complete before taking action. This has been a frustration for the family who would like to see immediate justice. Reaction from the community is mixed because some witnesses say it was an accident while others say the bouncers were rough and have a reputation for being so.

For example, on Feb. 5, Brian Alexander Duncan was involved in a similar altercation with Didley’s security, but charges were dropped against him after witnesses were ready to testify Duncan was defending himself against the guards. Now, a former Tri-City resident, Michael Cates, is planning a civil lawsuit against the club over injuries he allegedly suffered while being removed from the club in February 2011. His attorney says Cates suffered severe head and back injuries from the incident. He was found not guilty in March of this year of fourth degree assault on the security personnel.

Before judgement is passed, the public needs to remember there are numerous witnesses, views, and much investigating left to do before the full complete facts are known.  Regardless of whose side the facts favor,  it’s important that every bit of evidence be examined closely. This is important before anyone rushes to judgement.  That might be difficult in an emotionally-charged issue such as this. But we recall what happens when you don’t get all the facts.

You may remember back in March 2006 when the Duke lacrosse team hired strippers to perform during a team party. One of the women accused three of the players of sexual assault. Many were quick to chime in on the issue from Al Sharpton to ESPN. Campus rallies condemned the players and the team was shut down for a time. The three players accused were booted from the school. Later the State Attorney General concluded there was no credible evidence of any assault and accuser later admitted she lied, and the three players were exonerated in 2007.

But it was too late. The players’ reputations were destroyed, their lives forever altered, and even the school was left with a black eye. Much of what happened could have been prevented had there been restraint and patience until the case was fully investigated.

We are not taking sides on the Jack Didley’s issue. There needs to be restraint. Unfortunately, that is of little comfort to those affected by this tragedy. But a thorough and fair look at the facts will be able to prevent the situation from becoming WORSE than it needs to be, or has already become.

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