Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun, April 14, 2012
The 20-year-old man charged in connection with the recent assault and robbery in downtown Baltimore of a visitor who was stripped of his clothes was ordered held on $1 million bond Saturday morning, court records show.
Aaron Jacob Parsons of Rosedale turned himself in Friday night after having been linked to the videotaped incident for more than a week, as viewers tracked social media activity that appeared to show his involvement. He has been charged with robbery, assault and other crimes.
His attorney, Warren Brown, said Parsons is a “good kid,” who graduated from parochial school and was raised by his brother after his mother died. Brown said Parsons has no prior arrest record and is not responsible for the acts in the video that drew the most outrage.
“It’s not the punch that has aroused so much anger — it’s the humiliation after the punch, the disrobing of the guy and going through his pockets,” Brown said. “He wasn’t involved in any of that and has no real association with those people.”
In a television interview, Parsons apologized for his role in the crime but said his recollection of the events were hazy. And despite the apology, Brown said Parsons would be pleading not guilty.
In the video, filmed the night of St. Patrick’s Day, the seemingly disoriented victim is standing with a group of young people in front of the east building of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. As a girl dances against him, a man who police now say is Parsons grabs something out of the victim’s pocket. The man moves to recover his property, and the man identified as Parsons rears back and punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground. The victim is then stripped of his clothing and teased.
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III urged residents this week not to mischaracterize the Baltimore incident amid other racially charged cases in Florida and Oklahoma, saying there was no indication that the crime — involving black suspects and a white victim — was driven by race.
Attempts to reach Parsons since the video surfaced had been unsuccessful. “He’s been deluged with threats,” Brown said. Parsons’ personal information, including phone numbers, his address and e-mail address, were plastered across the Internet.