Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Trans Woman Savagely Attacked in Atlanta’s Little Five Points; Details Still Emerging

Video capture of stomping attack on trans woman in Atlanta.  GA Voice image.

Video capture of stomping attack on trans woman in Atlanta. GA Voice image.

Little Five Points, Atlanta, Georgia – A trans woman yet to be identified was brutally stomped in an attack following a verbal engagement with a group of men in the Little Five Points section of Atlanta.  GA Voice reported the attack after videos appeared showing a shouting match between the trans woman and her unidentified attacker.  The video shows the explicit moment as the attacker, a much larger man than his victim, stomps on her repeatedly.  The extent of the victim’s injuries is unknown, but must have been severe.

Atlanta transgender people are on edge ever since two trans women were assaulted on the MARTA in May of this year. Two men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in the wake of that crime.  Now that another trans woman has been targeted for violence, the Atlanta transgender and social advocacy communities are up in arms.  Most disturbing to the trans community is that bystanders in both assaults did nothing to help.  Cheryl Courtney-Evans, founder of Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth (TILTT) told GA Voice, “If this person is not in the hospital, I don’t know why the Atlanta Police don’t know about it—she should have reported it. I’m sickened by the fact that people were once again standing around doing nothing, when this waste of DNA should have been detained and locked up for assault. As a community, transgender individuals are just tired of having to fear and worry about our safety at any given moment that we leave our homes,” she said. “While we understand that the LGB community has the same worry, we also know that they have reached a point in society where it is not so prevalent or common. Transgenders, on the other hand, particularly MTFs, must worry about ‘passing’ or they become instant possible targets for verbal or physical abuse.”

Jeff Graham, executive director for Georgia Equality, said, “That’s another horrific attack against a transgender or gender variant person. I hope that the person who has been attacked comes forward so that the police can fully investigate. It is also time to address the overall violence that transgender people live with every day through increased public education and enforcement of the policies that the city of Atlanta has put in place.”

Since the attack, the videographer who captured the brutal stomping and put it up on YouTube has said that the incident had nothing to do with transphobia.  Though the investigation is still proceeding, it is hard to believe that the victim’s gender variance and gender expression had nothing to do with the savagery of the assault.  The entire Atlanta LGBTQ community is awaiting word on the motive that caused a big man to move beyond slurs to inflict such horrific violence against a trans woman.  Robbie Medwed spoke for Atlantans in a tweet on Wednesday night: “Cringe is too soft a word for the visceral reaction I have when I watch that vine [referring to the video]. I can’t accept that this is Atlanta.”

July 3, 2014 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Georgia, Georgia Equality, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, LGBTQ, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Trans Woman Savagely Attacked in Atlanta’s Little Five Points; Details Still Emerging

2nd and 3rd Vicious Anti-Gay Attacks in New York City in Matter of Days

Gay bashing victims attacked outside Midtown Manhattan billiards club on Friday (WABC 7 images).

Gay bashing survivors attacked outside Midtown Manhattan billiards club on Friday (WABC 7 images).

New York City, New York – Port Authority Police report the third brutal anti-gay hate crime in the Midtown area of Manhattan this Friday, when two gay men were assaulted, beaten, and dragged by homophobic New York Knicks fans.  WABC 7  and NBC 4 New York report that the two victims whose names have not been released to the public (but are pictured to the left) attempted to gain access to Space Billiards, an after-hours billiards club around 5 a.m. Friday morning.  They were denied admission, but as they left, a crowd of five men wearing NY Knicks fan jerseys targeted the gay men outside the club, yelling anti-gay slurs at them, and commencing the attack.

The pair ran toward the 33rd Street PATH Station in a vain attempt to escape their attackers, but were grabbed, punched, stomped and beaten, and then dragged along the pavement, sustaining heavy injuries to their faces, arms, and torsos.  The victims were treated at Bellevue Hospital where one of the victims underwent eye surgery as a result of the vicious bashing.

The attackers were apparently so intent on harming the gay men that they continued the beating and yelling epithets in front of the PATH Station, where Port Authority Police witnessed the hate crime in progress, and rushed to break it up.  Most of the attackers fled the scene, but officers arrested two 21-year-old men, Asllan Barisha and Brian Ramirez, charging them with felony assault and anti-gay hate crimes.

On Sunday, May 5, a gay couple were assaulted by Knicks fans with much the same m.o. in the same general area of Midtown.  The New York Anti-Violnce Project (AVP), an organization that combats anti-LGBTQ violence, reports the second incident involving an attack on a gay man by an assailant hurling homophobic slurs in Union Square on Tuesday, May 7. Police have a suspect in custody in relation this assault.  In response to the rash of bias-motivated hate crimes against gay men in New York City, the AVP has issued a Community Alert.

Investigators are working to understand the relationship between the three incidents of bias-motivated crimes against young gay men, separated only by less than a mile and a half and a matter of days.  New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who spoke out against Sunday’s assault, issued this statement in the wake of theses most recent anti-gay attacks:  “I am outraged by this string of assaults. These vicious assaults are not reflective of the diversity that defines New York City. Our city prides itself on its inclusiveness, and hateful slurs and physical attacks against anyone, for any reason, go against the very fabric of what makes our City great. I thank the NYPD Hate Crime’s Task Force and the PAPD for their continued work to identify and bring those responsible for these heinous attacks to justice, and urge all New Yorkers to stay alert, safe and vigilant.”

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Christine Quinn, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, New York, New York City, New York Knicks, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2nd and 3rd Vicious Anti-Gay Attacks in New York City in Matter of Days

6 New York Teens Charged with Murder as Hate Crime

Anthony Collao, 18, fatally mistaken as gay, (l), pictured with his girlfriend, Wendy Vargas

New York City – Six teenagers have been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in the fatal March attack on an 18-year-old male perceived to be gay.  365 Gay reports that the youths attacked and stomped Anthony Collao of Bethpage on Long Island to death as he was leaving a birthday party on March 15 in Woodhaven, Queens. The suspects, none of whom are older than 18, crashed the party, breaking windows, shouting “homophobic remarks,” and scrawling anti-gay slurs and epithets on the wall with a red marker. Collao and his cousin, sensing trouble, tried to leave the home, but were chased outside where the assailants threw Collao against a car, and savagely beating and stomping him until he no longer moved.  His cousin screamed for them to stop, saying that Collao was not gay and had a girlfriend, but the attackers continued pressing their assault with their fists, shod feet, and a metal pipe. Collao fell into an irreversible coma and died two days later at a Jamaica hospital when life support was removed from him. Four suspects — Alex Velez, 16, of the Bronx, Christopher Lozada and Luis Tabales, both 17 and from Queens,  and Nolis Ogando, 18, also from Queens – were arrested soon after the attack. A fifth suspect, Calvin Pietri, 17, of Woodhaven, who allegedly bragged about the killing on Facebook, was arrested within a day of the attack. Jonathan Echevarria, 16, of Brooklyn was also arrested and charged.  Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown told news reporters that each suspect has been charged with a 21-count indictment of murder as a hate crime.  The charges were upgraded after new evidence in the case came to light.  The suspicion that someone might be gay, or even an unsubstantiated accusation of it, as in this case, carries the potential of death. Homophobia and heterosexism are deadly to straights as well as gays.  The defendants in this case could each face as much as 25 years for the crime if found guilty.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Gang violence, gay bashing, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Mistaken as LGBT, New York, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Halloween Hate Crime Attack in San Diego

Jacob Harshbarger, gay bashed in San Diego (Fernando Lopez photo)

San Diego, California – A gay man was brutally beaten behind his home on Halloween morning by a mixed gender gang who shouted anti-gay epithets as they punched, kicked, and body-slammed him.  “Come over here and kick the fairy!” they shouted, among other slurs.  San Diego Gay and Lesbian News (SDLN) reports that Jacob Harshbarger, a well-known 32-year-old San Diegan gay man, was walking his two dogs in the alley behind his home about 3 a.m., after the bars closed on Sunday, October 31.  He noticed a group of three women and two men in the alley who seemed suspicious.  Intent on finishing his dog-walking, Harshbarger did not respond when one of the suspects asked him a question.  That night, Harsbarger had donned a tee-shirt with a catty, gay theme on it to wear out to the local bars for the Halloween parties.  Upon returning to his home, he wore a hoodie over the tee-shirt that covered the slogan.  The victim wondered if somehow during the exchange, one of the gang read his shirt, igniting the attack.  One of the males shouted out that Harsbarger was a gay man, drawing the others into the assault.  SDLN reports that the assailants fell upon Harsbarger, screaming that he was a “f*****g faggot.” A neighbor recalls hearing a loud “bang,” which was most likely the sound of Harsbarger’s body as he was slammed into the house during the gay bashing. The neighbor and her son investigated the commotion in the alley beside their house and found Harsbarger unconscious on the ground.  Though brief, the assault was savage.  Harsbarger was diagnosed with a concussion, and needed thirteen stitches to close his split lip, and was beaten so severely in the face that he sustained bruising behind his eyes.  The victim remembers very little, once the attack commenced.  He recalled for SDLN that one of the female gang members tried to get the chief attacker to stop when he kicked Harsbarger in the face, and that in the argument that broke out between the females and the males, one of the male attackers kicked one of the women in the stomach.  The next thing the victim remembered was the journey to a local hospital in an ambulance.  Harsbarger was treated and released to recover at home.  LGBTQ activists in San Diego say that the North Park section of the city is supposed to be safe and friendly to LGBTQ, people.  This attack is a wake-up call to the community, and a further indicator of the mounting violence against gay and lesbian people throughout the nation in the wake of the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law last October.  Local activist Fernando Lopez told reporters, “We think of San Diego and North Park as being progressive and safe. It’s devastating that someone would do this to Jacob, or any member of our community.” Police officers are not willing to label the attack a hate crime.  A spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department speculated that Harsbarger was “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” likely a spurious opinion, since the North Park area is thought to be relatively free of problems for LGBTQ people.  Investigators found that Harsbarger’s hoodie was zipped up when paramedics found him lying unconscious on the ground, so the attack was not sparked by the victim’s clothing, as he feared.  One of the attackers left a cell phone at the scene, which may prove to be a critical element in locating the suspects.  Since no one saw the bashing, investigators are left with the partial memories of a shaken and hurt victim of yet another crime of hate violence against the LGBTQ community in southern California.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, California, Gang violence, gay men, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Halloween Hate Crime Attack in San Diego

Remembering Charlie Howard: Murdered 26 Years Ago

Remembering Charlie Howard on State Street Bridge, Bangor Daily News Photo

Bangor, ME – Charles O. “Charlie” Howard was drowned to death by three young men at 10 p.m. on July 7, 1984.  His murder was the first full-blown hate crime murder against a gay person to be recognized as such in all of New England, if not the whole United States.  The young men, Shawn Mabry, 16, Jim Baines, 15, and Daniel Ness, 17, ran him down on the State Street Bridge in the heart of downtown Bangor, beat and kicked him brutally, and then heaved him over the the railing into the Kenduskeag Stream below.  Charlie screamed that he didn’t know how to swim.  At 12:10 a.m. the next morning, police rescuers found his drowned body a few hundred feet from the bridge.  A large eel had wrapped itself around his lifeless neck.  An autopsy confirmed that he died of drowning, most probably hastened by a severe attack of asthma, a disease that had plagued Charlie all his life.  He was 23 years old.  The young attackers spent one night in jail, and then were released without bond into the custody of their parents.  LGBT folk and their allies were galvanized by the murder of one of their own, and a fledgling equality organization started in the state in Charlie’s memory.  Mabry, Baines and Ness were tried as juveniles, and sentenced to an “indeterminate term” in Maine Youth facilities in South Portland.  Because of the nature of the law for juveniles, the convicts had to be released by their 21st birthdays.  Mabry and Ness served 21 months apiece.  Baines, the youngest, served two years.  Fourteen years later, in 1998, Matthew Shepard was murdered on a ridge overlooking Laramie, WY, also because he was gay.  Without what had been learned so painfully in the loss of Charlie Howard, there might very well have been no frame of reference for what happened to Matt.  Echoes of Charlie Howard still reverberate in Maine.  Bangor voted a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people.  Laramie has not done so yet.  Maine has a state hate crime law on the books, and the government is fairly scrupulous in enforcing it.  Wyoming has never passed such a law protecting its LGBT citizens.  Supporters finally won permission to erect a monument to Charlie near the bridge where he died.  There is no such monument remembering Matt in Laramie.  Matthew Shepard’s story is know around the world.  Charlie Howard’s has remained pretty much a New England story.  But Charlie’s story has changed lives for the better.  And in sheer effect, his supporters have won more respect and practical protection for LGBT people in Maine and New England than Matt’s has yet to achieve in the nation as a whole.  We at the Unfinished Lives Project remember lovely, goofy, maddening, flaming, edgy, and graciously generous Charlie Howard today.  He did not die in vain.  We must work to see to that, for him and for all the sons and daughters of America who died just because of who they were and whom they loved.  Rest well, sweet brother.  We have not forgotten you.

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, drowning, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Maine, Matthew Shepard, Monuments and markers, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Wyoming | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hoosier Gay Man Beaten To Death

Fort Wayne, IN – A gay man described as “a kind and gentle soul” was kicked and beaten to death at a birthday party in Huntertown early on Sunday morning.  Paul Michalik, 36, was found dead on the lawn of Brian Paul Brothers, 34, according to reports on Wane.com.  The Allen County Coroner has ruled that a blow to Michalik’s head was the cause of death.  Michalik, a popular and well liked employee at a local spa and salon, went to the party in the wee hours of Sunday morning at the Brothers’ home with a mutual friend, Jerry Lee Chambers. At some point in the party, Brothers ferociously attacked both Michalik and Chambers for causes that are still under investigation, and while law enforcement officials have not  yet formally charged Brothers in the fatal incident, Chambers says that he attacked them because they were gay.  In what Brothers told police was “an all out altercation,” he admitted hitting Michalik multiple times in the head, face, and body, and kicking him multiple times, as well. In his statement to police, Chambers said that he tried to get Michalik outside the house while Brothers rained punches at his head and face, and delivered blows to his body.  Brothers allegedly turned on Chambers, too, so severely that Chambers had to “play dead” to avoid further injury.  While he was on the floor playing dead, Chambers said that he could hear air expelling from Michalik’s body as Brothers kicked him repeatedly in the ribs.  After Brothers’ rage finally exhausted, Chambers says that he and Brothers carried Michalik’s unresponsive body out on the lawn in the darkness.  Brothers allegedly went back into his house, leaving the dying man on the grass without calling for medical help for either of his victims.  At 4 a.m., police responded to a call from the Huntertown address, and found Chambers wounded and Michalik dead.  Reflecting on the severity of the attack, Dr. Jeannie DeClementi, an assistant professor of psychology at IPFW, and a human rights advocate, told Wane.com, “That’s an enormous amount of rage behind that. That’s pretty incredible. When you put it together with the amount of rage and with the violence of the crime, and you add that up with the fact that the victim is gay, I think you have to consider that [the attack was a hate crime],” said DeClementi. A co-worker of Brothers who attended the party but refused to go on camera said to News 15 that the fight started because Chambers and Michalik kept making homosexual passes at guests, and refused to leave the house. This type of accusation, claiming that the victim of an anti-LGBT hate crime is somehow responsible for the violence visited on him, is called the “gay panic defense,” a tactic that is familiar in hate crimes cases across the nation, but has largely been discredited in courts of law.  Indiana’s News Center has learned that Brothers will be formally charged on Thursday.  He is currently being held without bond on a probation violation charge. Brien McElhatten and Scott Sarvay of the News Center report, “While Indiana has no specific hate crime legislation, President Obama signed a federal law into action in 2009 making criminal acts motivated by sexual orientation a federal crime. However, federal charges will not come into play, because the offender must cross state boundaries in the process of committing the crime, according to Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison.” The prosecutor will have to make the determination whether to charge Brothers with a hate crime.

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Bludgeoning, gay men, gay panic defense, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Indiana, Law and Order, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hoosier Gay Man Beaten To Death

Miami Beach Police Disciplined for False Charges Against Gay Tourist Who Turned Them In For Beating

Flamingo Park Area of Miami Beach

Miami Beach, FL – “What is happening in Miami Beach?” —  Miami Herald reader Jeffrey Garcia questioned Miami Beach Police Chief  Carlos Noriega after reports that two MBPD officers falsely charged a gay tourist.  The officers were apparently unaware that the tourist was speaking on his cellphone to the 911 line to report them for beating a man on the street.  The large majority of the abusive arrest, shouts by the officers of anti-gay epithets, and their physical assault on gay tourist Harold Strickland were all recorded for the world to hear.  Once they realized the tourist was reporting them, they allegedly made up charges against him that have now been dropped. Under pressure from the ACLU of Florida, both MBPD Officers Frankly Forte and Elliot Hazzi have been put on desk duty while the investigation against them proceeds.  The Chief’s assurances of good relations with the Miami Beach LGBT community to the contrary, a flurry of reports are emerging that Miami, Miami Beach, South Beach, and other Dade County locales once considered gay Meccas are no longer safe for queer folk.  The made up charges against Mr. Strickland are the most recent example.  According to Miami Herald reports, Mr. Strickland observed two men beating a person at about 1 a.m. on March 13, 2009 in the Flamingo Park area of Miami Beach.  As Steve Rothaus of the Herald reports, “Strickland called 911 when he saw a man being beaten by two men just outside the park. ‘I saw a guy running and then I saw two, what looked like undercover cops running. And they pushed this guy down on the ground, the one cop did, and the other cop came up as if he was kicking a football … and kicked the guy in the head,” Strickland told a dispatcher during a recorded phone call to 911.”  Rothaus continues his report, “For nearly five minutes, he talked to the dispatcher, who encouraged him to get closer for more detail ‘if it doesn’t put you in any danger.’ A few seconds later, Strickland told the dispatcher: “Now they’re coming after me!””  The officers, Forte and Hazzi, demanded to know what Mr. Strickland was doing.  According to a spokesperson for the ACLU,they then grabbed his cellphone away from him and said, “We know what you’re doing here. We’re sick of all the f—ing fags in the neighborhood.”  Pushing him to the ground, they bound Mr. Strickland’s hands and proceeded to kick and beat him, hurling anti-gay slurs at him.  The ACLU report continues, “While Strickland was on the ground, the officers continued to spew anti-gay epithets. They called him a ‘f—ing fag’ and told him he was going to ‘get it good in jail.”’  Though Mr. Strickland tried to tell the officers about his call to 911, they would not listen.  They arrested him on prowling-and-loitering charges.  A half hour later, Officer Forte in his arrest report charged Mr. Strickland with breaking into six cars in the area.  In a hearing the next morning, a judge advised Mr. Strickland that he would get out of jail quicker if he would plead guilty to misdemeanor charges.  He did, but as soon as he was free, he called the ACLU, and changed his plea to not guilty.  The State Attorney General’s Office has dropped all charges against Mr. Strickland, as well as loitering and resisting arrest charges against Mr. Oscar Mendoza, the man Mr. Strickland saw Officers Forte and Hazzi beat near Flamingo Park.  The ACLU has informed the mayor of Miami Beach that they will sue both the offending officers and the city for the incident.  Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., director of the ACLU Florida’s Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Advocacy Project, told the Herald’s Steve Rothaus, “This is an issue that we have hoped to address for a long time. Miami Beach Police have for a long time harassed gay men around Flamingo Park without probable cause.”

February 16, 2010 Posted by | ACLU, Anglo Americans, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Florida, gay men, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, police brutality, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Miami Beach Police Disciplined for False Charges Against Gay Tourist Who Turned Them In For Beating

Three St. Louis Gay Men “Lucky to Be Alive” After Hate Attack

Jacob Piwowarczyk shows facial wounds sustained in attack

St. Louis, Missouri – Local station News Channel 5, KSDK in St. Louis reports a possible hate crime attack against three gay men early Saturday morning that left them cut and bruised, but alive.  One of the three lucky survivors, Jacob Piwowarczyk said to reporters, “I have a soft tissue bruise on my elbow. I have six stitches in my eye and I have a mild concussion.”  The two other victims suffered a broken nose and a fractured cheekbone.  Piwowarczyk went on to describe the attack that took place outside a popular local nightclub, The Complex.  Four men who had just left an adjacent bar to The Complex jumped out of their car and confronted Piwowarczyk and his two friends as they crossed the parking area. “They came up out of the car and they start calling us ‘Faggots,'” Piwowarczyk said, showing the press the injuries he sustained in the attack.  “We kept telling them please leave us alone, we’re fine,” young Piwowarczyk continued. “From there, the one kid didn’t like what we told them and decided to punch me in the eye and I fell to the ground. And at that time my friend was laying on the ground and they started kicking him in the face.”  Club security were the first to respond, probably averting much worse injury to the three gay men.  Then, police arrived at the scene.  The attackers had fled, reportedly in a black SUV with Illinois plates.  Missouri was one of the first states in the Union to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections for its citizens in 1999, according to Vital Voice, the leading LGBT newspaper in St. Louis.  Authorities are searching for the suspects, and have yet to determine whether the attack qualifies as a hate crime under the Missouri statute or the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, recently enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.  If determined to be a hate crime, the suspects could face severe penalties.  The outcome could have been much worse, according to Piwowarczyk.  “Health-wise we’re all fine,” he said. “We’re just lucky to be alive.”

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Beatings and battery, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Missouri, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Three St. Louis Gay Men “Lucky to Be Alive” After Hate Attack

Arrest Made in Hallowe’en Night Hate Crime Attack

Robert Bellamy, Jr.Lakeview, NY – One man has been apprehended, and two more are still at large in a Hallowe’en night attack on two men presumed to be gay.  Robert Bellamy, Jr., 23, (pictured at the left) was arrested by Nassau County law enforcement officers on November 5 in connection with the brutal harassment, stomping and kicking assault that sent two men to Mercy Hospital in the dead of the night.  Bellamy has been charged with robbery as a hate crime and two counts of assault.  Both victims were treated and released.  According to reporting by www.wpix.com, the two men targeted for the attack were dressed for a costume party.  One of the victims, who drew the most severe treatment, was dressed in drag.  What had started out as a Hallowe’en fun night turned threatening after the two men dropped by a convenience store after they left the party.  Three men, one of them Bellamy, allegedly hurled homophobic slurs and insults at the pair on store property.  When the costumed men left the convenience store to avoid further conflict, a car driven by a woman, loaded with the three alleged attackers, followed them.  Jumping out of the vehicle, the three assailants surrounded their victims.  Bellamy reportedly punched one of the men, calling him a “faggot” and knocking him to the ground.  The other two attackers, still at large as of this report, also hit both victims, beating them senseless.  All three then took turns kicking their downed prey repeatedly in the stomach.  As they left the scene, Bellamy allegedly rifled the pockets of the man he punched, beat and kicked on the ground, stealing $7 in cash.  The sexual orientation of the victims has not been determined.  At a press conference, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey told WPIX reporters, “There was a perception whether real or not, that their sexual orientation may be different than the males.”  Bellamy was arraigned the following Thursday, while a manhunt is underway to locate and arrest the other two assailants.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Beatings and battery, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Mistaken as LGBT, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Justice for Jimmy Lee Dean: Both Attackers Now Sentenced

Jimmy Lee Dean, Victim of Brutal Attack

Jimmy Lee Dean, Victim of Brutal Attack

Dallas, TX – The second man who nearly beat Jimmy Lee Dean to death in July 2008 has been sentenced to 75 years in prison.  Bobby Jack Singleton, 30, faced his fate August 27 in Dallas County’s 194th District Court.  The co-defendant in the case, Jonathan Russell Gunter, 33, received a 30-year sentence for the crime in March of this year.  The Singleton sentence means that the jury understood the severity of the crime against Mr. Dean, who has been permanently disfigured and lost his entire sense of smell due to the attack.  The earliest Singleton can be paroled is 37 1/2 years under Texas law.  There is no penalty attached to an LGBT hate crime in Texas, though the Dallas Police who investigated the attack, which occurred just a block off the major LGBT entertainment strip in the city, treated the crime as anti-gay from the beginning.  Had the Matthew Shepard Act been law at the time of the case, there would have been another recourse for law enforcement to take.  Dean said that he was satisfied by the sentence.  Testimony in the trial revealed that the co-defendants had drunk five pitchers of beer at a North Dallas bar before getting up the courage to travel to the Oaklawn/Cedar Springs area to rob gay people because the perpetrators were “low on cash” and believed gay men could be more easily robbed.  Gunter took a gun with him and brandished it at Dean, a 17-year resident of the Oaklawn neighborhood, on a darkened section of Dickason Street.  Singleton, however, did most of the severe damage to Dean as he lay unconscious on the sidewalk,

Gunter (l), Singleton (r)

Gunter (l), Singleton (r)

kneeing him, kicking him, and stomping on his face with his boots while yelling anti-gay slurs at his helpless victim.  The jury heard taped phone conversations between Singleton and his half-sister while he was in jail awaiting trial, in which he laughed about Dean’s nose hanging on by a flap of skin, and claimed that he was going to pretend he was gay so that the punishment might be lighter on him.  “All I got to do is fill out one of them homosexual cards and prove that I’m a faggot, too,” he said.  He went on to his half-sister that if he were sentenced to prison, he could just tell the corrections officers that he was “not really a fucking faggot” so that he could skip being housed in protective custody.  Dean said to Dallas Voice reporter John Wright, “This [sentence] sets a precedent for anything like this that happens.  He also said that no one should be a target of violence for any reason, including one’s sexual orientation.  What now remains to be done is support for Mr. Dean in the months and years that follow this trial.  LGBT presence at both the Gunter trial and the Singleton trial was sparse.  Dean and his longtime roommate, Thomas Bergh, are contemplating moving to Oklahoma, away from the scene of the attack.  Dean told reporters that when he walks along Dickason Street these days, he has to walk down the middle of the street, and not on the sidewalk where the two Garland, TX men nearly killed him.  Like so many victims before him, Dean will live with the nightmares and the physical consequences of the attack for the rest of his life.  It is not enough for the LGBT community to shrug shoulders now that that last trial has been held, and assume Dean can just go from this point vindicated.  Dallas has to face its hate-crime problems, as the Dean case, and the Richard Hernandez  case have both shown in recent months.  One way to do that is to get support for Jimmy Lee right from here on out.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Beatings and battery, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Justice for Jimmy Lee Dean: Both Attackers Now Sentenced


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