McCain supporter maimed for her politics by robber; Update: Hoax

posted at 4:50 pm on October 23, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Update: Ashley Todd perpetrated a hoax.  We have that in a separate post by Allahpundit.  Be sure to read that in detail, but my overall reaction is that Todd is a very, very disturbed young woman.  — Ed

Original post:

A 20-year-old woman got robbed at an ATM in a Pittsburgh suburb, and normally that would not make national news.  However, her robber wanted to make a political statement as well.  After seeing a McCain bumper sticker on her car, he beat the woman and scratched a “B” into her face:

A 20-year-old woman who was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield was also maimed by her attacker, police said.

Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard tells Channel 4 Action News that the victim was robbed at knifepoint on Wednesday night outside of a Citizens Bank near Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street just before 9 p.m.

Richard said the robber took $60 from the woman, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim’s car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter “B” into her face, Richard said.

This is a horrible story, and if it happened as alleged, I hope the man gets life in prison for both the armed robbery and the maiming.  Our prayers go to the woman, who refused medical treatment at the scene, as well as our hopes for a quick and complete recovery.

However, despite the comments popping up in other threads, I don’t think this says anything terribly significant about the election or either candidate.  Criminals aren’t known for their kindness, temperament, or intellect, and this particular criminal sounds like he’s a couple of bricks short of a load even for that crowd.  The initial crime had nothing to do with politics at all, so it’s not an example of partisan thuggery as one would expect some to paint it.

I’m sure that the two campaigns will be sure to reach out to the woman.  Someone will undoubtedly press the Obama campaign for a reaction, and will get the obligatory and emphatic denunciation that everyone would expect.  We have many more important issues to debate, and many more cogent reasons to oppose Barack Obama than the offhand cruelty of one criminal in Pittsburgh.

Update (AP): Good points from Ace. I notice that Drudge has quietly moved the story from blaring red-font banner to upper-lefthand teaser.

Update II (Ed): The woman who was attacked has identified herself as Ashley Todd, who is a College Republican field representative.  Here’s the photo:

It looks like Ashley did get beaten pretty badly, and she does have a ‘B’ scratched into her cheek.  It’s not a rumor.  Hopefully, we’ll get more from the local media as the story develops, or from Ashley herself.

Update III: I agree with people in the comments who say that the beating and maiming were political, and obviously so.  Ashley wouldn’t have that wound on her face otherwise.  What I am saying is that it’s unfair to generalize about Obama supporters based on the actions of one nut.

I would also agree, though, that the media didn’t have any problems doing the same thing to the McCain campaign based on one comment allegedly yelled at a rally, and for that matter, neither did Barack Obama during the last debate.

Update IV: Let’s remember that Bill Gwatney got shot to death in an Arkansas Democratic HQ in June.  It’s dangerous to generalize on partisan lines when discussing one disturbing act of violence.

Update V: Some people are already saying “hoax”; I think that’s unlikely (but still possible).  Thanks to the local news report, we know the attack occurred.  Not too many young women would scar their faces just to create a political hoax.  As for the reversed/upside-down B, all I can tell you is that I got this from a source close to Ashley, who assured me that she wanted to go public (it was also on her Twitter page) and that the photo came directly from her.  It could have gotten reversed on the computer, or the attacker may have had her on the ground with her head upside-down in relation to his.

Update VI: Here’s a video report on the attack from KDKA-TV (via the Newsbusters).

Update VII: I spoke with two executives at the College Republicans on the record about this story.  Charlie Smith, the National Chair, and Ethan Eilon, the Executive Director, both say the photo is legitimate and that it came from Ashley Todd, the victim in this case.  The attack began at 8:50 pm ET and Ashley called the police at 9:30 PM ET. Initially, she was robbed, ran away after the robbery, and the robber followed her to her car.  At that point, he became enraged at the bumper sticker and began beating her and scratched the ‘B’ into her face. Ashley went to the hospital early this morning after initially refusing medical attention last night, and had an MRI and/or a CAT scan. Doctors believe her cheek will heal fully.

Eilon spoke with her personally today about the incident and confirmed the above with me.  He first met Ashley in June, when she came to DC for training with the College Republicans.  She works for them as a contract employee.  She does not work for the McCain campaign.  Both Eilon and Smith expressed revulsion over an attack on a young woman just getting involved in politics, but they consider this the act of a lone lunatic.

I’m not going to blame people for keeping a healthy skepticism on this case, but so far, the two media reports appear to check out.

Update VIII: The police want to administer a polygraph:

Police planned to administer a polygraph test to Ashley Todd, 20, because her statements about the attack conflict with evidence from the Citizens Bank ATM where she claims the incident occurred, police said.

But:

“We are treating this as a credible report,” he said.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.


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DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Having plenty of good women in my life, I can say with confidence that, like the Ass Card over there, whoever said that didn’t know how to recognize them.

MadisonConservative on October 24, 2008 at 11:02 AM

I don’t particularly like Race Card

He’s one of the whinging black pity cult. Like any other pathetic loser, he resorts to shallow masturbatory bullying.

LimeyGeek on October 24, 2008 at 11:03 AM

“Men generally care about the health and welfare of women and children, and women generally care about the health and welfare of women and children“. You fair, kind, gentle ladies may now disembowel me.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 10:59 AM

This “fair, kind and gentle” woman (thanks!) agrees with that quote. I just don’t think Race Card – and ironically, unlike what you mentioned, I DO like him, just not how he lets his lesser self get the better of him sometimes – lived up to it last night.

inviolet on October 24, 2008 at 11:06 AM

You fair, kind, gentle ladies may now disembowel me.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Excuse me? I’m not attacking Race Card. I’m simply pointing out a fact, which is that most women don’t report these types of attacks.

His response is to call those women a liar.

And I haven’t attacked you even once in this thread, but you have no problem in assuming I only care about other women and children because I state a fact?

It seems like you’re the one standing up for someone because of his genitals, not me.

And for the record, I have no problem standing up for men who need and/or want that from me, but most guys have a problem with a woman coming to their defense. They tend to see it as an insult to their masculinity, and I’m generally inclined to agree.

Esthier on October 24, 2008 at 11:23 AM

If I read correctly she left the scene then got a friend and had trouble finding the location of the assault before calling the police. Besides being twenty, which is very young, she is in an area she is totally unfamiliar with and frightened. I am taking all of these things into consideration before either discounting or believing her story. Regardless this young lady is going to have a tough go of it for a while.

Cindy Munford on October 24, 2008 at 11:31 AM

If it turns out that this is a ‘noose’ incident, who cares to make any predictions about the shift in media coverage?

“Desperate Republicans fake race attacks”

LimeyGeek on October 24, 2008 at 11:35 AM

LimeyGeek on October 24, 2008 at 11:35 AM

The best I can hope for is compassion for a poor deluded kid. But the only person deluded about that compassion is me.

Cindy Munford on October 24, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Bottom line:

If this (Republican)girl made this whole thing up, it will be all over the MSM for days or weeks to come.

If her allegations are true, you MIGHT see the story once on the MSM, and where it is seen it will be downplayed and rationalized.

Sterling Holobyte on October 24, 2008 at 11:53 AM

I think she’s full of crap. The B isn’t deep, it doesn’t look like it was done with a knife, and it certainly looks too neat to have been carved on a struggling woman.

cannonball on October 24, 2008 at 12:12 PM

As the alleged victim was withdrawing money, does the ATM video close-up show her face to be injury-free?

Buck Farack on October 24, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Ruh-roh, she’s changing her story:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_595049.html

now she was “sexually assaulted” and it wasn’t in front of the ATM.

Vincenzo on October 24, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Excuse me? I’m not attacking Race Card. I’m simply pointing out a fact, which is that most women don’t report these types of attacks.

His response is to call those women a liar.

And I haven’t attacked you even once in this thread, but you have no problem in assuming I only care about other women and children because I state a fact?

It seems like you’re the one standing up for someone because of his genitals, not me.

And for the record, I have no problem standing up for men who need and/or want that from me, but most guys have a problem with a woman coming to their defense. They tend to see it as an insult to their masculinity, and I’m generally inclined to agree.

Esthier on October 24, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Eshier,

You were fair, and I have no complaints with what you have posted on this thread, but you weren’t the only woman posting. He was rude and obnoxious, but I definitely got a gender war vibe from the comments after say 1:00 am.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM

If it turns out that this is a ‘noose’ incident, who cares to make any predictions about the shift in media coverage?

“Desperate Republicans fake race attacks”

LimeyGeek on October 24, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Yes and that’s why everyone who was urging caution last night, and getting blasted to hell for it deserve an apology.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Yes and that’s why everyone who was urging caution last night, and getting blasted to hell for it deserve an apology.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Sorry, got to the thread late, but…are you referring to Race Card, or to others? Because the “blasting to hell”, if you’re still referring to “after 1:00 AM” (see your 12:31 comment) was not about the Ashley Todd incident, if I read right.

inviolet on October 24, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Would all you people who gave me crap yesterday, care to apologize to me today?

Hey UNSEEN…..do you have anything to say?

FiveWays on October 24, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Yes and that’s why everyone who was urging caution last night, and getting blasted to hell for it deserve an apology.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Yep I agree.

And no one got more crap than me yesterday afternoon!

FiveWays on October 24, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Sorry, got to the thread late, but…are you referring to Race Card, or to others? Because the “blasting to hell”, if you’re still referring to “after 1:00 AM” (see your 12:31 comment) was not about the Ashley Todd incident, if I read right.

inviolet on October 24, 2008 at 12:51 PM

I meant earlier in the thread, but you are right, what happened after 1:00 AM had nothing to do with Ashley Todd.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Yes and that’s why everyone who was urging caution last night, and getting blasted to hell for it deserve an apology.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Yeah, I could count the number of people who simply said “urge caution” on two hands. The rest were flat-out calling BS without a clue, and they deserve the back of both of my hands.

Would all you people who gave me crap yesterday, care to apologize to me today?

FiveWays on October 24, 2008 at 12:52 PM

You’re a sad pathetic little worm, aren’t you? You’re spamming a website demanding kudos and apologies from anonymous commenters? Good lord.

MadisonConservative on October 24, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Yeah, I could count the number of people who simply said “urge caution” on two hands. The rest were flat-out calling BS without a clue, and they deserve the back of both of my hands.

MadisonConservative on October 24, 2008 at 1:09 PM

I didn’t call BS on her. I wanted to wait for the story to be fleshed out, and I got blasted for it by Unseen, and terrye. I have read about quite a few of the hate crime hoaxes, and this appeared similar, so I was cautious.

It looks like it now may be a hoax, and the media will exploit it. I worry that the media attention may drive her to harm herself. I felt sorry for her before, but was sceptical, and now she simply has my sympathy.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 1:24 PM

You were fair, and I have no complaints with what you have posted on this thread, but you weren’t the only woman posting. He was rude and obnoxious, but I definitely got a gender war vibe from the comments after say 1:00 am.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM

I wasn’t, but I am the one you were quoting, and it’s my quote that made me respond to you that way. I’m surprised you didn’t quote someone who was attacking Race Card personally, as it does more to make your point.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a gender vibe last night, but calling someone a liar when she confesses she was raped probably brings that out in women.

Taking apart a rape case that seems suspect is one thing. Calling another poster here a liar based on your feelings is another.

Esthier on October 24, 2008 at 2:23 PM

and now she simply has my sympathy.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Mine as well. What she did was horrible and speaks to something horrible inside her.

But she came forward and identified herself. This will only make things worse for her now. She will be vilified in horrible ways, and while I believe she deserves some of that, I believe she’ll get it even worse than Chrystal Magnum.

Esthier on October 24, 2008 at 2:26 PM

I wasn’t, but I am the one you were quoting, and it’s my quote that made me respond to you that way. I’m surprised you didn’t quote someone who was attacking Race Card personally, as it does more to make your point.

Esthier on October 24, 2008 at 2:23 PM

I’m just lazy.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM

I’m just lazy.

DFCtomm on October 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM

I can accept that.

Esthier on October 24, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Did anyone else wonder if the backwards “B” was the result of doing it while looking in a mirror?

MikeA on October 24, 2008 at 4:56 PM

Several posters were criticized yesterday for expressing their skepticism. Crow is being served in the diner.

Pelayo on October 24, 2008 at 5:35 PM

Pelayo on October 24, 2008 at 5:35 PM

Aw, did some widdle posters need some positive reassurance that people think that them smart. Okay pumpkin, you-ums called it. Does your little scratched ego feel better now? Bactine maybe?

hawkdriver on October 24, 2008 at 9:32 PM

Yeah, I could count the number of people who simply said “urge caution” on two hands. The rest were flat-out calling BS without a clue, and they deserve the back of both of my hands.

MadisonConservative on October 24, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Give it up – you are defending the indefensible in regards to your comments.

Bradky on October 24, 2008 at 11:22 PM

The worst thing about this is that it actually does damge to us.
The person up above had it right. If it had been true we would have heard it once, now we will hear it all day.

Memo to all screw-ups in this so called party of ours.
Pack your stuff and leave, take David Brooks and Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan and just go. Don’t care where just go.

kangjie on October 24, 2008 at 11:25 PM

kangjie on October 24, 2008 at 11:25 PM

Didn’t know you were the decider of who can stay. try reading Moran’s article at the link below. Common sense – get some and soon.

http://rightwingnuthouse.com/

Bradky on October 24, 2008 at 11:47 PM

Give it up – you are defending the indefensible in regards to your comments.

Bradky on October 24, 2008 at 11:22 PM

Coming from a master of hyperbole, that’s a laugh.

People with little to no evidence of the invalidity of a crime report who jump to call BS are no more enlightened, knowledgeable, or informed than your average bookie calling heads or tails. People like Michelle Malkin said they were holding off until they heard more. Others went “Whatever, it’s fake”. Again, a stopped clock is right twice a day. Nothing wrong with skepticism, everything wrong with parading belligerence as “I told you so”.

MadisonConservative on October 25, 2008 at 1:40 AM

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