Thursday, July 18, 2019

Puerto Rican Gay Victim of Bullying is Found Guilty: Faces 50 Years

Abel Cedeno, now 19 was convicted on all counts in court on Monday in The Bronx. Cedeno was the high school student who claimed to be bullied for being part of the LGBTQ community.  The story made headlines (

During class, Two African American students were throwing pencils and other items at Cedeno. Cedeno got up to leave through the door of the classroom. As he approached it, someone threw a crumbled piece of paper at him. He got upset and asked, "Who the F*#$ threw that?"  One of the students, Matthew McCree who was killed by Cedeno had responded. McCree then approached Cedeno and both began to fight. Cell phone video captures moments after this shows the altercation. Cedeno is seen running towards McCree who begins to pummel Cedeno. Cedeno swings back, stabbing the alleged bully.  The video then ends.

During the trial, evidence was presented. Cedeno took the stand on behalf of himself and told his story. He claimed he was bullied for being gay and did not remember stabbing McCree. The trial was done by the bench. This means a judge had the power to decide, not a jury. Other classmates also testified and acknowledged that Cedeno was being picked on and pelted with pencil and other items. However, the judge decided that Cedeno was guilty.  He now faces up to 50 years in prison due to all the charges.

The story has brought attention to the problem in public schools in New York City. Bullying has gone rampant and administrators do nothing to prevent it or stop it. In fact, many teachers are unable to discipline students due to policies instilled by progressives. Restorative justice is named as the main culprit by many teachers.  This form of discipline (or lack, thereof) does not allow punishment. Instead, students are encouraged to make peace with one another. There are no consequences for offenses committed by students. Several teachers from the high school where both Cedeno and McCree attended, which is now closed, said to reports that after this form of discipline was put as policy, students began to disrespect teachers, deans, and even the principal.

The conviction has come as a surprise and upset to many who claim Cedeno was a victim of bullying and deserved to be exonerated. However, others celebrated the conviction by claiming that justice was served and called Cedeno a liar and opportunist. Some have wished for his death and used homophobic language in the process. There is no word as to whether the case will be appealed or not. Cedeno is scheduled to be sentenced in September of this year.

The judge's decision is being seen as a slap to the face of victims of bullying and victims in general. If self-defense is not possible, how can one survive?  Unlike Florida, New York does not have "stand your ground" laws. Self-defense is permitted, but it is encouraged that the victim retreat instead. This is easier said than done. New York Consolidated Laws, Penal Law - PEN § 35.15 Justification;  use of physical force in defense of a person states:

1. A person may, subject to the provisions of subdivision two, use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself, herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by such other person, unless:
(a) The latter's conduct was provoked by the actor with intent to cause physical injury to another person;  or
(b) The actor was the initial aggressor;  except that in such case the use of physical force is nevertheless justifiable if the actor has withdrawn from the encounter and effectively communicated such withdrawal to such other person but the latter persists in continuing the incident by the use or threatened imminent use of unlawful physical force;  or
(c) The physical force involved is the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.
2. A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person under circumstances specified in subdivision one unless:
(a) The actor reasonably believes that such other person is using or about to use deadly physical force.  Even in such case, however, the actor may not use deadly physical force if he or she knows that with complete personal safety, to oneself and others he or she may avoid the necessity of so doing by retreating;  except that the actor is under no duty to retreat if he or she is:
(i) in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor;  or
(ii) a police officer or peace officer or a person assisting a police officer or a peace officer at the latter's direction, acting pursuant to section 35.30 ;  or
(b) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal sexual act or robbery;  or
(c) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary, and the circumstances are such that the use of deadly physical force is authorized by subdivision three of section 35.20 .

What are your thoughts?  Was Abel justified or not?  Did Matthew deserve to be killed?  Abel's lawyer stated that he "messed with the wrong sissy."


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