Publicam Captures Shocking Assault

Mangala, Lowell, Mars -- 21 Apr. 2057:  Three local youths have been taken onto police custody in connection with the violent assault and rape of Taskar Oliphant Astarte, a resident of Galbraith Station in the Lagrange Orbital Colonial Authority.  Although the alleged perpetrators are quasi-persons by reason of youth and thus cannot legally be named, described or gendered in the press, their identities were quickly ascertained by investigators from footage captured on one of Mangala's publicly-accessible sousveillance cameras.

The footage clearly shows three young people confronting Mx. Astarte, a long-limbed, androgynous Spacer with the pronounced, bulging forehead typical of a hypercortical.  The assault occurred late last evening as zie walked through the Crosstalk, one of the rougher entertainment districts of Mangala.  Surrounding zer on a deserted street, the youths begin mocking Mx. Astarte, shouting epithets such as 'big-head', 'no-sex', and 'spider-legs'.  When Mx. Astarte tries to run, zie is restrained and thrown to the ground.  The three assailants repeatedly kick their victim and then take turns sexually assaulting zer.  After several minutes, they run away down the street, laughing loudly.  Police and emergency medical services arrive on the scene approximately 20 minutes later.

Mx. Astarte, who is recovering in hospital, has declined requests for an interview.  The incident has raised serious questions about the efficacy of the Mangala police department, as well as the Publicam system, which was announced earlier this year to great fanfare as a means of curbing the trend of increasing violence in the Crosstalk and other high-risk districts of the city.  The selling point of the project was that crowdsourcing the monitoring of public areas would free up police resources and allow quicker reporting and police response.  However, access records obtained from the Publicam servers under an expedited Free Access order show that several viewers were accessing the publicam feed throughout the assault and rape.  A spokesperson for the Mangala Police Department stated in a text message that the crime was not reported until several minutes after it had occurred.

Allemand Mertainian, a spokesperson for anti-rape activist group Body Count, has published a series of tweets blaming an "epidemic culture of sexualized violence" in Mangala for both the assault itself and for the apathetic response.  According to Ms. Mertainian, "It is the fault of their parents, our educators, and all of society that these youths consider gang rape of outsiders an evening's light entertainment ... Our entire culture has colluded in turning a program intended to stop assaults and protect victims into a form of voyeuristic pornography ... And however long it took for the watchers to become involved, it is unconscionable that the police took so long to respond to an assault that left the victim broken, bleeding and unable to move ... our city is sick with an incurable cancer, and all of us are responsible for standing by as it metastasized."

For its part, the Mangala police department denies that its response was inadequate.  "Our officers were engages in dealing with several other incidents, including a firefight in the Glassworks between rival criminal syndicates which led to the arrest of several multiple murderers," stated police spokesperson Lt. Ramsay Edgeworth.  "The assailants will be punished to the fullest extent of the law, though their status as quasi-persons leaves most of the choices about the consequences of their actions up to their legal guardians.  As for Mx. Astarte, zie made the choice to walk alone, inebriated and provocatively dressed, after a night in the roughest sex clubs of the Crosstalk.  It is not our responsibility to protect people from the logical results of their own actions."

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