Years ago in Philadelphia, there was a horrible, cringeworthy CCTV video from a laundromat in North Philadelphia that caught a dog being beaten with a baseball bat. The dog’s back leg was hanging off, a bloody limb of flesh and bone just dangling on by some tendons.
The attacker was chasing the dog and the dog stumbled into the laundromat and limped to try and hide the vicious beating, to stop the pummeling and force of a metal bat crunching its rib cage, back bone and skull.
The monster with the bat, came into the laundromat and pulled the dog out by the almost ripped off hind leg and proceeded to beat the dog with the bat again and again until the dog died on the street.
That was horrible to read, wasn’t it?
I mean, I even hated writing it and felt so bad and so heartbroken that I got up and went to the kitchen to give both my dogs, Gary and Enchilada a slice of American cheese because I’m trying to make up for animal cruelty and this damned story.
Are you crying yet? Cringing? I know, those Sarah McLachlan “Arms of an Angel” SPCA commercials that run around the holidays are in your head.
But what breaks my heart, and what I keep thinking about when I shut my eyes for the night, is that poor dog who escaped from a dog fighting ring, was already going to die, in so much pain and distress, that poor dog limped on three legs that were already busted and broken and tried to get away from more pain and punishment. The dog dragged itself away from another swing, another broken bone, another flesh ripping hit.
The dog dragged itself away, hoping there was no more, just so it could die without another hit.
Now imagine that dog is a seventeen-year-old boy.
Imagine it’s a seventeen-year-old boy, standing on the corner of Belgrade and Ann Streets in Port Richmond. It’s May 20, 1989, and he just got done work at the supermarket, where he stocked shelves of milk and eggs. He filled up his beat up 1977 Chevy Nova —gas was $1.06 a gallon. There’s a carnival in the neighborhood tonight, he’s waiting on some buddies so they can all go over and hang.
Just then a convoy of four cars pull up and encircle him. He has no reason to run, he did nothing wrong and this is his neighborhood, he lives only two blocks away. What’s going on?
Before he can even put his arms up to defend himself, a metal baseball bat is cracked against his forehead. The force throws him into the brick wall behind him, an old tailor’s shop, now closed. The bat comes down on the back of his head again and he hits the ground, banging his mouth, his nose, chiping his teeth on hard cement that now has blood, his blood puddling on it.
The bat again on his back. Crack! The bat hits him again on the side of the head, taking off the tip of his ear. He is pummeled by the bat and the fists and kicks of the handful of other teens that jumped out of those cars. He’s hit in the face and his eyeball explodes to mush. He can taste a mouthful of blood and he swallows some of his teeth. On his stomach, he feels his rib cage crack as the mob stomps on him, again and again.
The gold chain, with the Celtic cross he wears around his neck, is ripped off him. They spit loogers on his bashed in head. With what little strength and life he has left in him, he starts to crawl and slither a few feet until he pulls himself under his car.
Under the carriage of his old Chevy Nova, his face in the dirty street, blood pouring out of his mouth, his nose, his eye sockets, and ears, His fingers are smashed, a few tips are missing. Everything burns and stings. His knees are broken, so are his elbows and cheekbones.
But at least here, under his old, ugly Chevy Nova, the beating and torture will stop. Maybe he can die now.
But no. He doesn’t die. That’s because the brutality and savageness and violence was not finished.
They grabbed Sean by his bloodied Nike high tops and pulled his broken and smashed body from under the shelter of that car. Whatever fingertips he had left, clawed at the oil and asphalt of Belgrade Street.
They grabbed him by the sneakers and pulled him out. And then, the cowards shot him in the back.
Shot him in the back.
Just like that p.o.s. pulled that beaten and tortured doggie out by her mangled leg and killed her with a bat, these p.o.s. named Gonzales, Sanders, Martinez, Droz and Rodgriguez pulled Sean Daily out of his last shelter of life, the rusted underbelly of his car and shot him in the back.
“Mom! Dad!, Sean stuttered, bubbles of blood popping and then clotting in his mouth. “Oh, God it hurts so much….”
Sean Patrick Daily was killed on May 20, 1989, two blocks from his home. He did not know his attackers and they did not know him. In fact, they came into Port Richmond to attack and get revenge on the first white boy they saw, in retaliation for a fight at a party the night before.
Sean was not at that party. He was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time and the wrong color.
After the killing, gang members were “high-fiving” and Rodriguez even “bragged at a party after the attack that he broke a baseball bat” over the victim’s head.
That was right before they pulled Sean out from under the car and shot him in the back, killing him. Rodriguez hit Sean so hard with a baseball bat, that it broke over Sean’s pulp of what was his head.
And so 32 years later, Rodriguez sits in prison for murder. For breaking a baseball bat over a seventeen-year-old boy, already dying and blood and guts falling out of him, crying and begging for mercy on the ground.
In December 2021, Rodriguez was up for parole.
And Lt. Governor John Fetterman voted to free John Rodriguez, the killer of Sean Daily.
His vote is two-fold, he explains.
For one, the Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office, headed by Larry Krasner supports the killer’s parole.
And we all know how well Krasner’s experiment of vengeful social justice is making Philadelphia safer and less crime-ridden.
Secondly, Fetterman admitted that when voting on paroling these violent offenders who have murdered and raped and assaulted and kidnapped-he simply thinks of the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption” and the lead character, Ellis “Red” Redding played by Morgan Freeman.
“I’ve asked people, ‘Would you want Morgan Freeman to die in prison or not?’ And I’ve never met anybody that says, ’Yeah, he should die in prison. I would have voted to have him die in prison,’” Fetterman said at the time of his vote to free Sean Daily’s killer.
The Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania was basing his parole vote on a god damned Stephen King movie. Stephen King also wrote “Salem’s Lot” about vampires and “It” about a killer clown in the sewers.
So right now, take a deep breath and know that Fetterman is up for election as Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senator in two weeks.
And now read these words:
In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here
And think of that dog, being beaten to death on the streets of North Philadelphia, trying to hide and shield itself from the baseball bat beating in a laundromat, only to be grabbed and dragged back out to be killed.
And think of that seventeen-year-old boy named Sean Daily, being beaten to death on the streets of Port Richmond. Beaten so hard, that the baseball bat broke in two after it cracked his head open. He tried to crawl under a car, to hide and shield himself from the baseball bat beating, only to be grabbed by his broken feet and dragged back out to be shot in the back.
And now know that John Fetterman was the only YES vote to free the man that broke a baseball bat over seventeen-year-old Sean Daily’s head before he was shot and killed.
Is this who we want as our Senator?
The corner of Belgrade and Ann Streets in Port Richmond still has an old, weathered memorial plaque up on the brick wall that Sean Daily was beaten up against. You can hardly read the inscription or see his graduation photo on it. It’s 32 years old.
If you walk over to the corner, a mere eight feet away, you’ll be standing on the spot where Sean was pulled back out and shot. After the horrendous killing, neighbors took to the street to wash Sean’s blood and guts off the ground and one old woman collapsed in agony, swearing she saw scratches from his fingernails, clawing at the asphalt as he tried to get away.
“Mom! Dad! Oh God, it hurts!”
Go ahead, say those words in Morgan Freeman’s voice. It might make you feel just a bit better.
Patty-Pat Kozlowski grew up with Sean Daily in the best neighborhood in Philadelphia: Port Richmond. Send her your “hate has no home here” emails to firstname.lastname@example.org