Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Lincoln Man Charged with Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Alleged gay basher, Luke Stevens

Lincoln, Nebraska – A 22-year-old University of Nebraska – Lincoln student has been arrested and charged for assaulting a gay man outside a popular gay club on Friday, September 3.  Luke Stevens allegedly harassed a 32-year-old gay man after leaving Lincoln’s Club Q, calling him “derogatory names” concerning his sexual orientation intended to start a fight, according to 1011now.  As the target of the abuse tried to leave his antagonist, Stevens allegedly punched him in the face, and moved in to continue the fight.  A police officer on the scene was drawn to the noise of the altercation, saw the punch thrown, and wrestled Stevens to the ground.  The victim of the assault remains unidentified to the press.  He was treated on the scene and released to return home. “The victim and several witnesses reported that Luke Stevens did not know them,” Officer Katie Flood, spokesperson for the LPD, told reporters. “He started calling them derogatory names based on their sexual orientation.”  Stevens was charged with assault, disturbing the peace, and failure to comply.  Because Nebraska has hate crimes legislation on the books, Stevens may be charged with bias crime, which would make his situation much more grave.  If proven guilty of a hate crime, the enhancement would hike the misdemeanor assault charge to a felony. The Journal Star reports that the Nebraska hate crimes statute covers offenses carried out due to the victim’s “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.” Travis Garrett, 19, a friend of Stevens, was also charged with disturbing the peace.  Stevens and Garrett were in Club Q together earlier in the evening, as well as Stevens’s victim.  Witnesses and friends of the accused UNL student say that he is straight.  That evening he was extremely upset at having been turned down by a girl.  The contrast between the response of authorities in Lincoln and a similar anti-gay assault in Greenville, South Carolina three years earlier could not be starker.  Both involved punches thrown at a gay man after verbal anti-gay harassment outside a bar.  But in the case of Sean William Kennedy, 21, who was hit in the face outside Croc’s Bar in Greenville, an upstate South Carolina college town, both the outcome and the legal repercussions were outrageous.  As Unfinished Lives has reported, Kennedy was hit by Steven Moller, an 18-year-old straight man spoiling for a fight with a gay person, in May 2007.  Kennedy fell to the curb, hit his head on the concrete, and died.  Moller was arrested and charged with manslaughter, since the Palmetto State did not have an anti-gay hate crimes law (and still resists passage of such legislation).  While Nebraska police and prosecutors stand ready to investigate the assault in Lincoln as a hate crime, South Carolina officials refused to do so in the Kennedy case, giving Moller (who admitted attacking his victim) every benefit of the doubt.  In the end, with time served, Moller received less of a sentence for killing Sean Kennedy than if he had been found guilty of killing a dog.  For more up-to-date information on Sean Kennedy, see Sean’s Last Wish.  We at Unfinished Lives only wish some of the same conscientious law enforcement had been available to the family and friends of young Sean.  Moller is now a free man for lack of the will to bring anti-gay attackers to justice.  What a difference a hate crimes law makes!

September 6, 2010 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Nebraska, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, South Carolina, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: