Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Skittish Marines Gay Bash Man in Savannah

Keil Joseph Cronauer, 22, and Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23 (pictured L-R)

Savannah, GA – Two U.S. Marines were imprisoned Saturday for an unprovoked attack on a gay man in a downtown park.  Kieran Daly, 26, an openly gay man, was allegedly accosted with homophobic slurs and then brutally attacked by Keil Joseph Cronauer, 22, and Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23, both stationed at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.  The Marines, in town on leave, were apprehened by Savannah-Chatham Police Officers as they ran from the scene of the crime, and arrested for what the victim and witnesses to the assault are calling an anti-gay hate crime, according to the Savannah Daily News.  Though the Marines maintained to police that they were merely rebuffing unwanted attention from Daly, witnesses say that both men charged upon Daly after he tried to walk away from them.  The witnesses further report that one of the Marines became enraged, shouting that Daly had “winked” at him.  One of the Marines demanded that Daly respect him because he had recently served in Iraq, and one of them yelled a homophobic epithet at Daly as the attack unfolded.  In a rage, one of them struck the victim on the skull from behind with his fist.  Daly fell to the ground suffering two seizures, rendered unconscious.  At one point, the victim apparently stopped breathing, since police reporting to the scene saw Daly’s friends applying CPR to him as he lay motionless on the pavement.  He was rushed to Memorial University Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with bruises on his brain.  Daly’s assailants were arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery for attacking the gay man.  The crime was committed at about 3:45 AM near Congress and Bull Streets, near historic Forsyth Park.  In a hospital room interview late Saturday with the Daily News, Daly makes a point of saying that he in no way winked at or otherwise provoked the young Marines. “The guy thought I was winking at him,” Daly said. “I told him, ‘I was squinting, man. … I’m tired.’ That’s the last thing I remember is walking away.”  Daly is expected to be in the hospital for several days. While Savannah-Chatham police say that their LGBT liaison officer is closely monitoring the subject, nothing at this point indicates that the case is being investigated as a hate crime.  The relatively mild charge against the Marines indicates a reluctance to break with Savannah’s bad reputation among its gay and lesbian population. Jess Morgan, Gay-Straight Alliance President at Armstrong State Atlantic University, told the Daily News that LGBT residents of Savannah face discrimination and harassment on a regular basis.  They cannot safely be open about their sexual orientation in any public way without threat of punishment, Morgan said. Georgia still does not have anti-LGBT hate crime protection on the the state level, one of only five states that have no such law on the books.  Daly may be a civilian casualty of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).  Chicago Pride points out that the firestorm over repeal of DADT has created an increasingly tense situation for lesbians and gays coming into contact with Marines.  The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, is commonly identified by national media as leading the fight against the repeal of DADT among senior military officers, suggesting to Marines that anger against LGBT people is somehow justified. Police records show Cronauer and Stanzel have been released to into the custody of Marine military police.

June 14, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), gay men, gay panic defense, Gay-Straight Alliances, Georgia, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, military, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, South Carolina, U.S. Marines | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Skittish Marines Gay Bash Man in Savannah

   

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