Guilty Before Proven Innocent?

What happens when everyday citizens decide to take the law into their own hands? If you’re in Philadelphia, nothing. About a dozen angry residents of West Kensington neighborhood will not face criminal charges for hospitalizing 26-year-old Jose Carrasquillo, after beating him for several minutes on Tuesday with fists, feet, and wooden sticks prior to police arriving. The catch: Carrasquillo was wanted for questioning in the rape of an 11-year-old girl, which was so violent she needed surgery to recover.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he made his decision based on the severity of the man's head and face lacerations and his determination that the neighbors' intent was to bring the man to police. “I think you have to take into account the emotion and the severity of the injuries,” Ramsey said, adding that he does not condone vigilante justice. “It's unfortunate that we didn't find him first.”

Because Carrasquillo’s injuries weren’t fatal, does this excuse the people taking on the role of judge and jury? Some would say yes, however, no one has been charged in the rape; police handed out photos identifying Carrasquillo as a “person of interest” when neighbors spotted him. Ramsey did say investigators have very strong forensic evidence and witness identification placing him at the scene.

Ramsey calls this situation nothing more than a citizen's arrest. “These are people that aren't trained. They are holding people for police to arrive,” Ramsey said. Check out the video and tell us what you think about Philly’s people playing by their own rules: Is vigilante justice ever warranted?