Beating of Street Mime Ruled Justifiable
A Chrislip man charged with assault in the beating of a street mime was released yesterday after a judge ruled that it was a case of justifiable assault.
Nolan Burke, 40, was arrested last April after witnesses saw him beat Toby Mervin unconscious on Main Street. Toby, a third-year mime student in the arts department of Chrislip College, had been performing on the street for passers-by for nearly three hours when Burke, working on a nearby construction crew, took exception to his antics. He approached the mime and demanded that he stop. The silent little prince held out a daisy to the construction worker as a peace offering, at which point Burke beat him unconscious with his fists.
After the hearing, Judge Anthony Schultz explained why he ruled the attack justifiable.
“I put myself in Mr. Burke’s shoes,” he said. “He and his construction crew were out in the hot sun, working hard labor, and here’s this little poofter across the street, having imaginary tug-of-wars and trying to escape from an invisible box. So he clocked him. Can any of us honestly say we wouldn’t do the same thing under the circumstances?”
The judge also cited the fact that Chrislip has always had an unwritten “first one’s free” rule when it comes to attacking mimes. This is a common policy in towns whose citizens, legally speaking, don’t go in for that kind of crap.
Toby Mervin remained silent all through the proceedings. Some observers speculated that he was staying true to his mime persona, but in reality his jaw is still wired shut from the beating.