It’s been almost three years since a Kensington crowd jumped Michael Zenquis as he walked on Argyle Street and pummeled him into the sidewalk believing he was the man who had raped an 11-year-old girl from the neighborhood.
Fortunately for Zenquis, now 29, he was cleared shortly after he was released from the hospital because his DNA did not match. Also, the next day, June 2, 2009, another Kensington crowd trapped and beat up Jose Carrasquillo, who was later charged – and pleaded guilty -- to the rape of the 11-year-old and the attempt assault of a 16-year-old who escape his pursuit.
Though not charged, Zenquis is still seeking justice in the form of his federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and the police. The suit alleges that police investigating the child’s rape instigated Zenquis’ beating by circulating his photo in Kensington, telling people he was the suspected rapist and suggesting that citizens should use any means necessary to detain him until police arrived.
Zenquis’ has not yet seen any of the unspecified money damages the lawsuit seeks from the city. But it remains alive following Monday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Louis H. Pollak rejected the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Police later arrested two men Zenquis identified as his vigilante assailants; charges against one were dropped and the second pleaded guilty. Carrasquillo’s assailants were not criminally charged and two of them eventually received an $11,000 reward in a public ceremony.
As for Carrasquillo, now 29, he has an appeal pending in the state Superior Court despite the fact that he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December 2010 to 30 to 66 years in prison by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Ramy I. Djerassi.
At his sentencing hearing, Carrasquillo tried unsuccessfully to convince Djerassi to let him withdraw his guilty plea, insisting he was the innocent victim of a CIA plot, which wanted him to assassinate the president of China, as well as discovering he was the Antichrist in 2002.