10 Real Vigilantes Who Thought They Were Above The Law

10 Real Vigilantes Who Thought They Were Above The Law 10) The Lavender Panthers In 1973, the ordained minister and gay rights activist, Reverend Ray Broshears, [bro-sheers] was attacked by a gang of teenagers in San Francisco But this wasn’t an isolated incident

In fact homosexual bashings were common in the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s gay neighborhood Believing the police didn’t do enough about such attacks, the Reverend decided to found the vigilante group – ‘The Lavender Panthers’ The name derived from ‘The Black Panthers’ – the organisation which challenged police brutality against the African American community And in similar vein, the Lavender Panthers’ goal was to protect the homosexual community from injustice, with the Reverend proclaiming: ‘never again will a gay person be beaten without retaliation’ The group numbered 21 and according to Time, all of the Panthers knew judo, karate, Kung Fu or plain-old alley fighting

But the escapades of the group were short lived as it dissolved just a year later That’s because after a bartender was jumped by teenagers, four Panthers arrived and started beating up the culprits The teens’ parents complained to police who gave the ultimatum that the Panthers had to disband, or they’d all be arrested 9) Jack Ruby In November 1963, President John F Kennedy was fatally shot while riding through Dallas Less than an hour later, Lee Harvey Oswald killed a policeman who questioned him on the street

He was arrested and the next day formally charged with the murders of President Kennedy and Officer JD Tippit On the day that Oswald was being transported from Dallas police headquarters to another county jail, a crowd of police and press gathered to witness his departure As Oswald surfaced, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally shot him Some hailed him as a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with murder Ruby pleaded innocent on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy’s murder had caused him to suffer ‘psychomotor epilepsy’ and shoot Oswald unconsciously

But the jury found him guilty of the ‘murder with malice’ and sentenced him to death In 1966, however, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision, maintaining that Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time But he passed away in 1967 while awaiting a new trial 8) The Citizens of Skidmore During the 1970s, Ken McElroy was the most despised person in Skidmore, Missouri That’s because he was indicted on charges of assault after a 14-year-old girl gave birth to his child

But he managed to escape jail because he realised that if he married her, she wouldn’t be able to give evidence against him And then years later he was charged with attempted murder after shooting a grocery store worker, for which he was later released on bond pending appeal But in 1980 karma finally caught up with McElroy when a group of townspeople came together and took matters into their own hands On the day of his death, McElroy and his wife emerged from a bar, where he was surrounded by an angry crowd before someone shot the criminal Though there were around 46 witnesses, not one of them called for an ambulance, nor did any of them claim to have seen anything when questioned

As there was no significant evidence, the citizens of Skidmore were not indicted for the murder of their town’s most notorious criminal 7) Michael Mullen After learning of the sickening case of offender Joseph E Duncan III, ex-con Michael Mullen decided to do some research into other offenders in his town of Bellingham in Washington He found the addresses of Hank Eisses and Victor Vazquez – two criminals who had served jail time for the of sexual offences of young children While Mullen had no direct relation to the crimes the pair had committed, the attacks deeply resonated with him as he suffered similar abuse as a child Mullen decided to pose as an FBI agent and visit Eisses’ home

Upon arrival, he was greeted by the offender’s roommate, James A Russell, who was also on the register Mullen claimed to be investigating vigilante threats against the offenders as a pretext gain entry Within moments of walking through the door, he shot Eisses while Russell scrambled to get out of the house But instead of fleeing the site of the crime, Mullen called 911 and confessed, not only to THIS killing but also to that of Victor Vazquez

He was sentenced to 44 years in prison 6) Phoenix Jones You’ve heard of Clark Kent as Superman and Bruce Wayne as Batman But have you heard of Ben Fodor as Phoenix Jones? In 2010 this superhero started to fight crime in the streets of Lynnwood in Washington He wore a bulletproof vest and stab protection under his black and gold outfit, and even carried a Taser gun and pepper spray Phoenix Jones was part of a group called the Rain City Superhero movement which consisted of 20 other civilian crime fighters

In fact Jones was even in a relationship with fellow superhero Purple Reign But in 2011, the superhero was held in county jail on 4 accounts of assault after having used his pepper spray on several people causing a disturbance as they left a club A Seattle police spokesman said: ‘Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law You can't go around pepper spraying people because you think they are fighting’ Sadly, Phoenix Jones’ crime fighting days came to an end in 2014 with the disbanding of the Rain City Superhero Movement

5) Bradley Willman In the late 90s, a teenage Bradley Willman was on a quest to capture those who possessed indecent pictures of children He created a Trojan virus in the form of a picture which he then posted on newsgroups When users opened the file, it would seemingly be nothing but a random picture from the directory But it would also allow the virus to embed itself in the user’s computer This then gave Willman access to thousands of computers, where he would search for indecent images or other incriminating evidence

He’d then send the information to watchdog groups so these people could be reprimanded But of course searching through people’s computers without their permission is completely illegal In 2000, Orange County judge Ronald Kline downloaded the virus Willman found over 1,500 indecent images on his computer and a journal indicating that he planned on criminal acts Kline was convicted and sentenced to 27 months in prison

Since Willman cooperated with police, he wasn’t charged, but he did have to break away from his vigilante ways forever 4) The Gulabi Gang Uttar Pradesh is one of the most dangerous provinces for women in the whole of India, with almost 8,000 cases of kidnapping and 2,000 cases of dowry death reported last year alone Formed in 2005, the Gulabi Gang is movement of thousands of women in this Indian state in which the members deal with assaults, child marriages, domestic violence, and general discrimination by threatening to use collective force against perpetrators It started when founder Sampat Pal Devi [sam-pat pal dev-ee] witnessed a domestic abuse incident, and was attacked when she tried to intervene She retaliated by gathering a group of women, who returned to beat the man in question with bamboo sticks

The movement gradually gathered strength and numbers, and was named the Gulabi Gang because of the bright pink saris that members wear, since gulabi means pink in Hindi According to AlJazeera, the group now has over 400,000 women The aim of the group was outlined by Sampat Devi Pal when she said: ‘If we find the culprit, we thrash him black and blue so he dare not attempt to do wrong to any girl or a woman again’ 3) Buster Jack Sites like eBay are a harbouring ground for fraud In one common scam, a seller advertises a high-ticket price item, like a car, but tells potential buyers that for one reason or another it’s not able to be viewed before purchase

They tell them that their money will be secured in a holding account until the buyer is satisfied with the purchase But of course, the purchase never materialises and the buyer loses money – on average around $6,000 each time Enter UK-based Buster Jack, who is the leader of a 36-member strong vigilante group whose goal is to scam the scammers For 4 years he and his team have been scouring eBay and other sites to find criminal accounts When they sniff out fraudsters they pose as customers and go through the early stages of the transaction, obtaining the sellers' bank details

Once they have this information, Jack and the other vigilantes send banks this up to date intelligence on fraudulent accounts Jack estimates that he and his team have helped close around 350 fraudulent accounts, preventing a staggering $25million in fraud 2) Sombra Negra Known in English as ‘The Black Shadow’ this vigilante group really is as sinister as its name sounds In 1995 it became common knowledge that the ‘Sombra Negra’ vigilante group was operating in El Salvador

In April of that year, the group stated that it had killed 17 people, claiming that those killed were criminals or members of gangs The group stated that it killed people because they believed that the police could not enforce the laws of El Salvador But the group had been operating much earlier than 1995 During the 1980s, the group’s members typically blindfolded their victims a4)nd tied their hands before torturing them Common practices included the removal of the tongue and teeth before finally shooting them in the back of the heads

Operatives of the sombra negra would conceal their face and body with bandanas, costumes and use unlicensed vehicles with darkened windows in order to evade full detection While the group mainly consists of police or military personnel, the government of El Salvador insists that the groups are not under its control And finally, the least conventional vigilante of all In 1972, American Airlines Flight 119 was hijacked by Martin J McNally demanding $500,000

He forced the pilots to fly the plane between Oklahoma and St Louis while authorities got the money 10 miles away, a drunken David J Hanley was watching events unfold live on TV in an Airport lounge He called his friend and told him to listen to the radio in a few minutes

That’s because he thought he would take matters into his own hands and stop the hijacking He got into his car and took off A few minutes later as the plane was taxiing down the runway, Hanley ploughed through the airport fence, past all the cop cars, and crashed into the plane at 80mph, rendering it useless Hanley had stopped the hijacking But his triumph was short lived

Ultimately McNally just got another plane, but it was a valiant vigilante attempt from Hanley McNally was arrested a few days later and the authorities got their $500,000 back when McNally dropped it after parachuting 8,000ft from the second plane Unlucky

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