'Twitter detectives' track down angry mob who beat gay Philly couple

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'Twitter detectives' track down angry mob who beat gay Philly couple
Phillip Williams (PPD)
Kathryn Knott (PPD)
Kevin Harrigan (PPD)
Philip Williams, right, accompanied by attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. walks to a police station Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Philadelphia. Williams, Kevin Harrigan and Kathryn Knott are being charged with conspiracy, aggravated and simple assault, and reckless endangerment in the Sept. 11 beating of a gay couple during a late-night encounter in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(Philadelphia Police Department)
(​Philadelphia Police Department)
(​Philadelphia Police Department)
(​Philadelphia Police Department)


A pair of sharp-eyed Philadelphia Twitter users spearheaded an online manhunt for suspects in a hate crime until police tracked the perpetrators down.

Both Greg Bennett and user @FanSince09 sprang into action after Philadelphia Police released surveillance video of a dozen men beating up a gay couple last week in Center City.

Those shown in the video are making arrangements through their attorneys to be brought in for questioning, WPVI reported.

At least one PPD spokesperson is very appreciative of the effort.

"This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops," wrote detective Joseph Murray. "I will take a couple thousand Twitter detectives over any one real detective any day." Those Twitter detectives left no Facebook page or Twitter profile unturned until they found the "clean cut and well-dressed" mob police were looking for since the savage Thursday attack, authorities said.

Video showed men and women ganging up on the gay couple and mercilessly beating them in the city's downtown area.

Members of the unruly gang held the pair (aged 27 and 28) down while others smashed them in the face, head and chest while shouting anti-gay slurs, police said.

Detectives had no suspects and asked for the public's help, that's when the online detectives took over.

One of the alleged attackers was tracked down within eight minutes of Gregg Bennett's first tweet after being found in a YouTube video of a dinner party.

That led to the rest of them being found at the same restaurant, La Viola, in pictures on the eatery's website.

Their pictures were then compared to those found on Facebook and suspects were identified.

Arrests have yet to be made, but the "city of brotherly love" shines a little brighter because of these good samaritans.

Related links:
Angry Ukrainians tossed a politician into a dumpster and beat him with a tire
Teen arrested for waving rubber phallic object at peoplehttp://blog.phillypolice.com/2014/09/wanted-suspects-for-hate-crimeassault-and-robbery-in-the-9th-district-video/
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