April 29, 2012
Police say Carnell Marshall was left for dead. They say the 27-year-old was beaten, burned and tortured on McAllister Avenue before he, or his body, was left in a hidden part of the tire store parking lot. His killers didn’t want him to live, nor for him to be found, they allege.
Syracuse Police sought his accused killers for a week. Two were charged a week after the crime — a blip about the second was run on the evening news last weekend, advertising the suspect as extremely dangerous and warning people to stay away from him and his McAllister Avenue home.
A week later and half a block from where Marshall’s body was found, I watched in horror as a young man hit — no, beat — a dog with a lacrosse stick. The teen chased the dog down the street and up the stairs of the home, striking the brawny, pit bull-like dog with each stride he took.
Syracuse Police responded about a half-hour later, but couldn’t find the suspect and cleared without taking a report, and it wasn’t forwarded to the animal cruelty investigators.
Police were in the midst of an investigation to find Marshall’s killer — a beat dog was of concern, but not a priority.
“People are more important than dogs,” an internal affairs officer told me after my repeated urgings for the Syracuse Police Department to take action. I reminded them how animal abuse escalates — it’s a dog today, and a person tomorrow. It’s a lacrosse stick to the abdomen of a pit bull today, and a knife to the human stomach tomorrow. My outrage, however, stood alone.
Fast forward two days and head east 10 miles. A Jamesville 23-year-old is accused of jumping a fence, thwarting a male swan’s attack, and taking seven eggs that would soon hatch into swans. Police say he took them to a bar, dropping some along the way. None of the cygnets would be hatching in three weeks.
The community was outraged. Tips about the animal abuse poured into Manlius police until they cracked the case, charging Ross Leone with multiple misdemeanors and a violation. By the time he turned himself into police, more than $13,000 was donated for the arrest and conviction of the young man who took swan eggs.
Manlius Police responded to the case with vigor, I’m sure with an urging from the community and the distraught mayor. Much of their time went into the case — they took abuse against animals seriously, and their investigation yielded an arrest.
The dog on McAllister Avenue wasn’t so lucky. Repeated calls to the Syracuse Police Department left me with the same message — limited resources in the department don’t leave much time for animal abuse complaints. In a lengthy conversation with Sgt. Tom Connellan, he explained how officers are working to find those who beat children and kill in cold-blood. Animal complaints are important, he said, but the department doesn’t have the resources to respond to each case with similar vigor Manlius did with the swans. It’s understandable.
Maybe, just maybe, the people who are donating hoards of money for the swans should examine the heartbreaking stories that are happening elsewhere in Central New York everyday. Don’t get me wrong — the swans are important and I was just as heartbroken as the news broke Sunday, April 21. While the community support behind the swans was tremendous, it’s also a bit discouraging to know the same support isn’t being put behind the Carnell Marshall’s of the world — his accused killers walked free for a week, and society wasn’t outraged then. The young man who hit this dog is still free — likely sitting on the porch sipping lemonade, as he was that day — and there’s no outrage there. Calls in Central New York are going unanswered, and our community needs to help.