In the wee hours of the morning on October 3, 2009, a white man named Reggie Allen mowed down a black man named Anthony Rice outside a strip club in East St. Louis, Illinois. Witnesses testified that Allen, who was driving a Ford F-150, intentionally chased Rice, who was on foot, struck him, and then took off, leaving him for dead.
Allen was known to the East St. Louis authorities. His mother owned the strip club where the incident began, and he worked there as a bouncer. More importantly, as the RFT's Nicholas Phillips would write in a January 2011 cover story
, at the time of the incident, the 27-year-old Allen "had already been charged in eight different jurisdictions with 40 non-traffic offenses, including 20 felonies, half of which involved violence." He'd been charged with no less than fifteen different instances of assault and battery, including a case where he allegedly pushed down a young woman and kicked her in the face.
See also: Cops Believe Reggie Allen Mowed Down a Black Man More Than a Year Ago. So Why Isn't He Behind Bars?
But despite that extensive record, and despite the fact that Rice's killing was determined to be a homicide at the coroner's inquest, Allen wasn't charged in the case for nearly two years — and then only after Phillips' story raised serious questions about why he was roaming free
And then, on Monday, that "reckless homicide" charge vanished into thin air — in a deal with prosecutors, Allen pled guilty instead to "mob action" in exchange for the homicide charge being dropped.
A host of Reggie Allen's mugshots. The bouncer has been charged in a host of crimes across the Metro East.
Prosecutors cut that deal even though Allen has been far from a model citizen even after his arrest for Rice's killing. Even while he was out on a $100,000 bond for the homicide charge involving Rice, prosecutors allege Allen beat up a dancer in a strip club bathroom, then held her down while others took their turns beating her.
Yet for Rice's death, he faces just one to three years in prison, the Belleville News-Democrat reported
. (He could also face an enhanced sentence of up to six years — but, the paper notes, he could end up just getting probation as well.)
J. Justin Meehan, the attorney who represented the Rice family, is himself a relative of the man who was killed (he married into the family). He pushed for years to get Allen prosecuted in the case. He said this in a statement yesterday:
Our families are both shocked and disappointed that Reggie Allen is free on bond pending his sentencing. Reggie Allen has the worst criminal record we have ever seen. We believe that had the races been reversed this case would have been over in five months not taking over five years We believe that the East St Louis government.; the former State’s Attorney; and his heroin-addled Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Christ, and his heroin-addicted crony, Michael Cook, who was the original judge assigned this case, are to blame. We always felt that the City of Belleville coddled Reggie Allen throughout his extensive criminal career.
We also questioned whether black lives would ever matter in a City like Belleville and fear the worst. All we can say now is that ”If you want him, you can have him” and don’t tell us we did not try to warn you beforehand the next time someone falls victim to his violent behavior. We did our part and leave the rest to the City of Bellville, County of St. Clair and its criminal justice system. We appreciate the efforts of current State’s Attorney, Brendan Kelley, and believe he did all he could do with what he had. The Rice and Nash families are good, honest, hard working, Christian families. They believe in God and harbor no hatred or thirst for revenge. We did our part and leave the rest up to God.
Anthony Rice's brother, Aubrey Rice, who was there the night his brother was mowed down, put it more succinctly. "“If it had been me and I killed a man of another color, it would have been 15 to 20 years,” he told the Belleville News-Democrat
Court records show that Allen is set to be sentenced on January 16, 2016.
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