Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Second Gay Bashing Outrages Savannah

Savannah Protest Rally/Richard Burkhart photo for Savannah Daily News

Savannah, GA – A second gay man has come forward to report that he was the victim of a gay bashing in Savannah.  John Takats, a grad student at the Savannah College of Art and Design issued a statement to the press through Georgia Equality claiming that he was called a “faggot” and struck in the back of the head so hard he fell to the sidewalk on February 27, 2010. While he admits he did not come forward to issue a complaint to police at the time out of fear, Mr. Takats felt he had to come forward when news of the June 12 bashing of another gay man, Kieran Daly, by two U.S. Marines hit newsstands. Mr. Takats says that his boyfriend had stepped away to recover a lost item when four people, two men and two women, menaced him, shouting, “What are you looking at?” and hurling anti-gay epithets at him.  The blow to his head and kicks to his body stunned him, and the next thing he remembered was his boyfriend trying to revive him.  In part, Mr. Takats’ account is as follows: “As the males approached me they started swinging. I immediately put up my hands, in front of my face, to protect myself. At that time, clearly out of nowhere, one of the males struck me in the back of my head. I was kicked till I fell to the ground by either the same (or the other) male. At that time, I heard one of the females scream ‘Stop that!’ The group ran away from the scene. I was completely shocked, hurting and confused and I began crying.” Project Q Atlanta has a Mr. Takats full statement online.  The Daly case entered a new phase last week when the FBI and the local police began investigating whether that attack on Mr. Daly was a hate crime.  The Anti-Defamantion League has issued a press release praising the move on the part of law enforcement. Bill Nigut, Southeastern Regional Director of the ADL said, “If this is a hate crime, prosecution under the new law will send a strong statement to the people of Savannah that violence against gays will not be tolerated.”  Georgia Equality has learned from hard experience that the Savannah-Chatham Police Department has often been demeaning and unresponsive to LGBT complaints.  Kevin Clark, Georgia Equality’s Savannah Chapter head, told WSAV News 3 that these attacks are just the latest installments in a pattern of violent anti-gay hate crimes in Savannah over the last five years.  Speaking to a protest rally of 150 citizens calling for justice in the Kieran Daly gay bashing case, Clark said, “It should only take one or two individuals who have been attacked or know of others who have been attacked to get the attention of someone in leadership in this community– that in our opinion should have stepped forward way before now and condemned the violence and put out a loud call for swift just action here.”  Savannah is a “military city,” close to the Marine Corps Air Station in nearby Beaufort, South Carolina, where both of Daly’s alleged Marine attackers were stationed.  But what sets Savannah apart from other cities with large military bases nearby, according to Jim Morekis of Connect Savannah, is its “large and influential gay community.”  Morekis concluded his op-ed piece, “Let’s hope that the two Marines who attacked Daly receive a fair trial, and if found guilty receive a punishment suited to the crime. And let’s hope that society, and the military, can continue to move beyond ignorance and prejudice. A good start would be for the Georgia legislature to put a fair hate crime law on the books so we can join the rest of the nation.”

June 25, 2010 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, FBI, gay men, Georgia, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, military, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, South Carolina, Stomping and Kicking Violence, U.S. Marines | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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