Victim of vigilante mob sues Philly police

March 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM

PHILADELPHIA, March 22 (UPI) -- A man attacked by a mob who wrongly believed he had raped an 11-year-old girl has sued Philadelphia police, saying they encouraged street justice.

Michael Zenquis, 28, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday, names both the city and the police department as defendants, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

Zenquis said he was beaten after police released a tip from an anonymous caller about a man nicknamed "Romeo," a name applied to him because of his voice. He ended up in the hospital after being hit with a baseball bat, a plank and fists.

"Not only was he beaten up by a bunch of civilians who jumped him out of the clear blue sky, he was also identified as a rapist and not just a rapist, but a child rapist," Zenquis' lawyer, Jonathan Feinberg, said. "He was labeled as this monster criminal with no basis whatsoever."

A day after Zenquis was attacked, another group of people surrounded a suspect, Jose Carrasquillo, who had been named as a "person of interest," beat him and held him for police. Carrasquillo is now serving a 30- to 66-year prison sentence.

Two of Zenquis' alleged attackers were arrested, and the father of the 11-year-old later apologized to him, while thanking the crowd that beat Carrasquillo.

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