Sometimes there is justice in the world, and in this case it's pretty sweet. Last month we were outraged when 43-year-old William Bailey was caught on camera making fun of his 10-year-old neighbor, Hope Holcomb-Knight, who has cerebral palsy.
He was seen -- with his 9-year-old son at his side -- mocking the girl and imitating her limp as she watched. It's hard to believe that someone could be so cruel and that they would teach such behavior to a child, but there he was doing it.
It could have stopped there, with us all chalking it up to another asshole in the world. You can't really lock people up for being mean and ignorant. Or can you?
After that incident, which appears to be a culmination of tension between the two families for years, the Knight family filed a criminal complaint, and yesterday the judge ruled.
The sentencing was complicated and included another incident in which Bailey threatened Hope's mothers, swinging a tow chain on his porch saying he would choke her until she "stopped twitching," but the end result is he's going to the slammer for 29 days. Apparently he got credit for one day, so he avoided the maximum 30 for the reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing. He also has to pay $400 in court costs and some other fees.
Of course that's only the beginning of what he actually deserves, but it's great to see the court take this case of bullying so seriously. While there are some accusations that the Knight family may not have been entirely innocent in this whole feud (he claims they have taunted his son for seizures), it doesn't excuse his actions in any way, and he deserves the punishment he got.
As Jennifer Fitsimmons, the chief assistant city prosecutor for this case, told ABC, “I think when we look at cases, there’s case law out there regarding people commenting and gesturing against race and religion. But when there’s nothing out there regarding disabilities, it took me a little bit longer to come to a decision.”
And what a fantastic message this sends to our children. That bullying and calling names isn't something to be taken lightly in any case. That while you may not physically harm someone, it doesn't mean that your words can't be just as harmful. While Bailey's punishment will never take away the hurt he caused Hope, it will hopefully make people -- adults and children alike -- think more before they speak and act like idiots.
Do you think sending this man to jail is the right thing to do in this case?
Image via ABC