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Posts for September, 2014

Three Arrested In Philly Gay Bashing

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2014
Philip R. Williams, Kathryn G. Knott, Kevin J. Harrigan.

Philip R. Williams, Kathryn G. Knott, Kevin J. Harrigan.

Three Philadelphia suspects turned themselves in after the Twitterverse solved a gay-bashing hate crime last week. Kevin Harrigan, 26, Philip Williams, 24, and Katherine Knott, 24, turned themselves in this morning after arrest warrants were issued yesterday. Knott, it turns out, is the daughter of a Chalfont, Bucks County Police Chief Karl Knott. News reports — and these captures from her Twitter feed — suggests she’s a real class act. Her employer at Abington Health’s Lansdale Hospital, where she worked as an emergency room tech, announced that she was suspended for allegedly violating a patients confidentiality by posting an X-ray on her Twitter account. Lawyers for the three however assert their innocence, claiming that it was one of the victims who threw the first punch.

The three face charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, conspiracy and reckless endangerment. The victims, a 28-year-old man and a 27-year-old man whose names have not been released, were approached by what was described as “a visibly intoxicated” group of about a dozen people who, according to police, made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. One of the men suffered serious facial injuries, with an orbital fracture and his jaw wired shut. The rest of the group have not been charged in connection with the assault, and police say that the reason for that “will come out in court.” One of those who weren’t charged, Fran McGlinn, was resigned from his job as assistant basketball coach at Archbishop Wood High School.

None of the suspects will be charged with a hate crime because Pennsylvania’s hate crime law does not include sexual orientation. At a news conference in Harrisburg yesterday, several Democratic state lawmakers urged the passage of proposed legislation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s hate crimes statute. One of those lawmakers, Allegheny County Sen. Jim Ferlo, took that opportunity to come out in grand fashion: “I’m gay. Get over it. I love it. It’s a great life.”

The Whole Twitterverse Is Watching

Jim Burroway

September 17th, 2014

Last Thursday, a gay couple in Philadelphia was attacked by what was described as a “gang of eight to twelve” at about 11:00 p.m. A witness described the attackers as “tall, masculine-looking dudes,” about 30 or 31 in age. One of the victims — they have chosen to remain unidentified — was reportedly sent to the hospital with multiple fractures.

Sources tell NBC10 the 27-year-old and 28-year-old victims were walking from a restaurant in the area of 16th and Chancellor around 10:45 p.m. Thursday. Suddenly they were approached by a visibly intoxicated group of two men and six women.

Witnesses say someone in the group asked, “Is this your f****** boyfriend?”

When one of the victims told them yes, the group allegedly attacked them, punching and kicking them in the face, head and chest. Police say one of the suspects then snatched a victim’s bag containing a cellphone, wallet and credit cards. The group then fled in an unknown direction.

On Tuesday, Philadelphia police released a video of a group of people that they identified as suspects in the attack:

Within hours, Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member Greg Bennett tweeted two photos from the video to his 157,000 followers, along with another photo of a group of people dining at a restaurant that night that he thought looked like some of the suspects:

Bennet tweeted that “a friend of a friend of a friend saw my tweet… (and) sent me the pic. I wanted to get the word out.” And things quickly moved from there. Other tweeps identified the restaurant as La Viola, and saw some that some of the people in the photo had checked in at the restaurant that night on Face book.

A local reporter then tweeted that lawyers for people in the group had called police to make arrangements for them to come in. No arrests have been made yet, but Philly police say that this is how crimes will be solved in today’s social media culture:

NPR’s Melody Kramer has documented the timeline here.

Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism

Rob Tisinai

May 6th, 2014

What should we call perpetrators of hate crimes? “Hate criminals” hasn’t caught on. “Perpetrator of a hate crimes” is a mouthful. So what’s an alternative?

I vote for “terrorist.” Or, if you prefer, “domestic terrorist.” It’s blunt. And it has  legal justification.

I’ve spent too much time on message boards correcting our opponents’ understanding of hate crime legislation and explaining that bias crimes don’t just affect the immediate victim, but intimidate victimize an entire class of people. I’ve had the best luck with anti-gay conservatives by laying out a scenario where someone is targeting elderly women on their way home from church. A pattern like that, or even a single attack backed up with some graffiti, could intimidate a whole community of elderly women from attending services. That expanded group of victims is why hate crime legislation — which doesn’t actually make anything illegal — is justified in giving heavier penalties to traditional crimes when they’re committed out of bias.

That’s where domestic terrorism comes in. It has a legal definition in the US:

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

(A) applies. (C) applies. And (B)(i) is exactly what we’ve been talking about. (The “or” at the end of (ii) indicates that any of those subbullets are sufficient.)

This works for the man who tried to burn down a bar full of gay patrons — even if, mind-bogglingly, he’s been charged with neither a hate crime or terrorism. And it works for those vandalize homes with graffiti saying, “You are not welcome here,” and “We cannot coexist with Third World scum.”

“Terrorist” (or, as W would say, “trrrrrist”) is a word conservatives love. But just as they’ve co-opted much of our language, I feel comfortable doing the same to them. Every time one of our opponents makes a mocking comment about hate crimes, I’ll have no trouble doubling down and calling these “perpetrators” exactly the name they deserve. Terrorists they are, and terrorists they should be called.

City to Gay Bar Owner, Site of Anti-Gay Attacks: Stop Calling 911

Jim Burroway

September 12th, 2013

Cocktails Lounge, on Cleveland’s West Side, has been the scene of at least two designated hate crimes in less than a week and at least six attacks on patrons since spring. Two weeks ago, Jared Fox was surrounded by a gang of juveniles, beaten and robbed while they shouted anti-gay epithets. These things are the kind of attacks that can happen in any American city, but they’re happening in Cleveland now, where the City’s Director of Public Safety, Martin Flask, is on the case: he sent a letter to the bar’s owners demanding that they stop calling 911 so often:

Our records indicate from September 02, 2012 through September 01, 2013 Cleveland Police Officers and/or Dog warden have been dispatched and responded to your property located at 9208 Detroit Avenue inns for various Calls for service. Repeated calls to the same property place an and inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland and on our safety forces. The estimated cost for the city safety forces to respond to your property is approximately $100.00 per call for service.

l am confident that we share the same goal and that you will take the necessary steps to eliminate the repeated calls for police services to your property. Therefore, within 10 days of the date of this letter, you will be required to submit your action plan to the First District Neighborhood Police Commander (623-5105), outlining your strategy to eliminate the problems at this location.

Cocktails Lounge manager James Foster was appalled at the letter.

Foster said what’s most frustrating is that the majority of those police calls didn’t have to do with the lounge itself. Instead, managers and patrons called about incidents happening near the lounge.

“It’s your neighborhood bar, everybody knows everybody, everybody’s got nicknames,” said Mary Wishar, a regular at Cocktails who describes the lounge as friendly and safe.

Outrage erupted on social media yesterday after the letter went public. City Councilman Jay Westbrook, who represents the ward where Cocktails is located, said, “Just when we thought we were turning a corner with these incidents, the safety director shot us in the foot.” Mayor Frank Jackson ordered Flask to rescind the letter:

“If I had to do it over again, I would have handled this particular situation differently,” Flask said. “After reviewing this issue with Mayor (Frank) Jackson, he has directed me to rescind the letter and instead set up a meeting with the District Commander and the property owners so that we can work together to address the issues raised by the calls for service to 9208 Detroit Avenue.”

Lyons could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. The letter said 13 police reports were filed over the one-year period for everything from fights to robbery. None of the calls, Flask said, involved hate crimes currently being investigated by police.

“(I)t is an early warning letter that the Department of Public Safety sends to property owners to help prevent a location from becoming a ‘nuisance property’” Flask said. “224 such letters have already been sent to various property owners this year.”

Cleveland was selected to host the Gay Games in 2014.

Peru legislature votes not to protect gays from hate crimes.

Timothy Kincaid

July 5th, 2013

El Pais

El congresista Carlos Bruce propuso en 2011 una modificación al Código Penal para que las agresiones por discriminación de orientación sexual y la identidad de género fueran castigadas con penas agravadas. El proyecto de ley estuvo en la Comisión de Justicia del Legislativo hasta hace un mes, cuando se descartó para evitar el ruido de los lobbies religiosos.

Sin embargo, la noche del jueves el Congreso votó la cuestión: 56 parlamentarios se pronunciaron en contra, entre ellos 26 del oficialista Gana Perú y 16 fujimoristas. “No pensé que la resistencia a este grupo social era tan grande. Es una muestra clara de la homofobia que existe en el Congreso, una homofobia escondida, porque ganamos el debate pero perdimos la votación”, ha declarado Bruce este viernes a EL PAÍS. Durante el debate, dos parlamentarios de confesión evangélica – uno de ellos fujimorista, Julio Rosas – fueron los más reticentes. “No había congresistas que abiertamente expresaron su discrepancia. Salvo dos evangélicos con argumentos débiles, todos los otros se pronunciaban a favor. Pero había una mayoría silenciosa que al momento de la votación se expresó (en contra), en particular la bancada de Gana Perú”, añadió Bruce.

Google Translate:

Congressman Carlos Bruce proposed in 2011 an amendment to the Criminal Code so that the assaults of discrimination sexual orientation and gender identity were punished with severe penalties. The bill was in the Legislative Judiciary Committee until a month ago, when it was discarded to avoid the noise of the religious lobbies.

However, on Thursday night Congress passed the question: 56 MPs voted against, including 26 of the ruling Gana Peru and 16 Fujimori. “I never thought that resistance to this social group was so large. It is a clear example of the homophobia that exists in Congress, hidden homophobia, because we won the debate but lost the vote, “Bruce said Friday at HOME. During the debate, two MPs of evangelical confession – one of them Fujimori, Julio Rosas – were the most reluctant. “There was Congress who openly dissented. Except for two evangelical weak arguments, all others were in favor. But there was a silent majority that when the vote was expressed (against), including the bed of Gana Peru “added Bruce.

Arrest made in gay church arson; Sheriff sides with arsonist

Timothy Kincaid

August 28th, 2012

From 10TV.com

They caught the guy who burned the historic South Bloomingville Christian Church to the ground. And when confronted by the Sheriff’s department he told them that it wasn’t a hate crime against the gay-friendly church, but in response to his being sexually assaulted by one of them there homos “connected with” the church.

And that was good enough for the Sheriff:

“I believe it brings some closure to the area that wasn’t, per se, a hate crime, as the bishop portrayed it to be,” North said. “It was more a revenge crime for what the suspect had endured in 2011.

Now if the arsonist was assaulted last year then I support prosecution against whomever assaulted him. After all, if true then “what the suspect had endured in 2011″ should be punished. And the Sheriff didn’t mention whether there was going to be an arrest for sexual assault.

But somehow I very much doubt it. There’s just something in his voice that suggests to me that any accusation against one of them there homos was proof enough – not enough for arrest, of course, but enough to justify arson.

Larry King’s Killer Pleads Guilty In Exchange for 21 Year Prison Term

Jim Burroway

November 22nd, 2011

Brandon McInerney (left), Lawrence King (right)

Brandon McInerney, who was a fourteen-year-old Oxnard Middle School student when he shot Larry King in school at point blank range in 2008, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and the use of a fire arm in a plea deal which will result in a 21 year prison term in addition to time served. Under the terms of his plea deal, McInerney, who is now 17, will be released shortly before his 39th birthday. McInerney will be formally sentenced on December 19.

McInerney’s plea deal comes after a mistrial was declared in his first trial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict. They had deadlocked at 7 to 5 in favor of finding McInerney guilty of voluntary manslaughter, with the five holding out for either second or first degree murder.

The Gay and Lesbian Education Network’s Executive Director Eliza Byard applauded the plea deal:

“The plea deal announced today ends a tragic chapter in Ventura County. Holding Brandon McInerney accountable for his actions is necessary and right, but putting him behind bars does not solve the problems that led a boy to become a bully, and then a murderer. Homophobia and transphobia, compounded by the lack of counseling and other supports for struggling young people, resulted in Larry King’s death and the effective end of Brandon McInerney’s life. As adults and as a society, we must find the resolve to fix the broken systems that lost two young lives to hate and fear.

I echo Byard’s sentiments. I’ve always felt very uncomfortable with sending a fourteen-year-old to prison for the rest of his life. This, I think, strikes the right balance.

Teen Attacked, Video Posted On Facebook. Why Wasn’t His Attacker Arrested?

Jim Burroway

October 27th, 2011

You will have to go to WSYX’s web site to see the video, but a fifteen-year-old student at Chillicothe, Ohio’s Union-Scioto High School was attacked because he was gay, and the attacker posted the video on Facebook. This was two days after the attacker left anti-gay comments on the victim’s Facebook page. The teen has a chipped tooth and possible concussion, and the attacker was suspended from school for three days.

There are two things wrong with this. Number one: a “possible concussion”? Let’s get him to a doctor and find out.

And number two: suspension for three days? Of course that’s not enough, but what can a school do but suspend a student? The mother is considering pressing a criminal complaint. That is exactly what neesd to happen, and it should have been the first response, not a backup plan. We have video evidence of a crime taking place. We have a Facebook account. We have a victim with injuries. We have witnesses who can be identified and possibly investigated as accessories to the crime. We have everything we need for someone to call 911 and launch a criminal investigation. This should not have been brought to the school’s attention first. The first step should have been to call the police.

Apropos of this post yesterday, if we really want for things to get better, then we need to start treating crimes as crimes. It’s not the school’s job to enforce the law. All they can do is suspend students, and sometimes expel them under extreme circumstances. But it’s law enforcement’s job to, you know, enforce the law. And it’s everyone’s job to call the police first when a crime takes place.

Police Say Stuart Walker “Was Victim of Sex Attack”

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2011

More details are emerging of last weekend’s murder of a gay Scottish man who was found beaten and burned outside of Cumnock in Ayrshire last weekend. Initial reports said that Stuart Walker’s body was found tied to a lamp post, but police say that those reports were incorrect. They do however say that the 28-year-old was the victim of a “violent and sustained” attack and that he may have been sexually assaulted. There are now reports that his charred body was partially undressed when it was found. According to the Daily Mail:

At a press conference at Kilmarnock police office, (Divisional Commander John Thomson) confirmed Mr Walker – a former assistant manager at the Royal Hotel in Cumnock – had almost certainly known those who killed him at Caponacre industrial estate.

Mr Thomson said: ‘I don’t think it was a random attack by someone who will strike again. I suspect Stuart may have known this individual or met this individual shortly before his death.’

Mr Thomson, who described the murder as a ‘vicious attack’, said there was a  ‘possibility of a sexual assault’.

The Telegraph says that Walker suffered “horrific” injuries and may have been burned alive. Police have told the local Cumnock Chronicle that they are following a “‘significant’ line of inquiry” and believe that Walker may have known his killers. The Daily Record says that “names of suspects already understood to have been flagged up to detectives.” Police are not yet ruling in or out the possibility that the murder was a hate crime.

Gay Man’s Body Found Beaten, Tied To Lamppost And Burned in Scotland

Jim Burroway

October 24th, 2011

Friends and family grieve at the scene of the crime.

A small town in Scotland is mourning the brutal murder of a “popular and well-known” man, whose burned body was found on the side of a road at an industrial park outside of Cumnock in Syrshire. Stuart Walker, 28, was found beaten, burned, and tied to a light pole early on Saturday morning after he failed to show up for his grandmother’s 80th birthday.

Detectives say that they have not ruled out Walker’s sexuality as a factor in his murder. The Scottish Sun quotes “a police insider” as saying, “Stuart was a gay man and this will be one of the things that is looked at, but by no means the only thing.” The Guardian says that police are refusing to speculate on motive or possible suspects:

Detective Inspector John Hog said Walker was last seen alive about two hours before he was killed.

He said: “Stuart had been out with friends in the Cumnock area earlier during the night and was last seen alive by a family friend near to the fire station in Glaisnock Street around 2.30am on Saturday morning – nearly two-and-a-half hours before he was found.

“It is imperative that we find out where he was between 2.30am and 4.50am, who he was with and why this happened to him.

“From our inquiries so far, we understand that there may have been a number of house parties in the nearby Netherthird housing estate in the early hours of the morning.

“At this time we do not know if these parties are linked to our investigation or not, so, again, any information on that is important.”

Police are reviewing closed circuit security video tapes and are carrying out door-to-door investigations in the area to try to piece together Walker’s last hours. A Facebook page has been set up in Walker’s memory.

Gay Couple Assaulted — At Church

Jim Burroway

October 4th, 2011

Jerry Pittman, Jr., (left) and Dustin Lee (right)

Jerry Pittman, Jr., and his boyfriend, Dustin Lee, were attacked when they tried to go to church at Grace Fellowship in Fruitland, Tennessee:

I went over to take the keys out of the ignition and all the sudden I hear someone say ‘sick’em,’” said Gibson County resident, Jerry Pittman Jr.

Pittman said the attacked was prompted by the pastor of the church, Jerry Pittman, his father.

“My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smash me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back,” said Pittman. He said bystanders did not offer assistance. He said the deacon yelled derogatory homosexual slurs, even after officers arrived. He said the officers never intervened to stop the deacons from yelling the slurs.

The younger Pittman says that there were about twenty people standing around the front of the church when the assault took place, but no one intervened to stop the assault or call the police. He also says that the sheriff’s deputy refused to take a statement from the victims or allow them to press charges. Gibson County Sheriff Chuck Arnold said, “If I was on the scene I would not have allowed that. The deputy should not have allowed it if he did,… I haven’t talk to him but that would be out of character for my deputy to say unless they were causing a problem themselves.”

The couple later filed assault charges against Deacons Billy Sims and Eugene McCoy. The younger Pittman is also pressing charges against his father and Deacon Patrick Flatt. They are due in court today. The pastor and his wife are also going through a divorce.

Seattle Couple Threatened

Jim Burroway

September 26th, 2011

God Hates F*gs!
Get the f**k out of our neighborhood.
The bible says God forbids men committing indecent act with other men.
Pack up your sh*t and get you gay sh*t out.
- KKK

That’s the note that wrapped a rock which was thrown through the windshield of a Seattle gay couple. Lyle Evans and Chris Ilovar were woken by the noise sometime after midnight Saturday morning.

We thought it was the cat. We thought it was sprinklers going off,” he said.

Ten minutes later, they heard the same sound again.

“I flew open the blinds in our bedroom and that’s when I saw shadows running down the street,” Ilovar said, “And I went, ‘Okay, something’s up.’”

While police reports officially call this an act of property damage and malicious harassment, the Evans and Ilovar said it’s pretty clear from the message left behind that this was a hate crime.

The suspect or suspects slashed all the tires on both men’s cars, as well as throwing two baseball-sized rocks — one through Ilovar’s passenger-side window, one through Evans’ rear windshield.

The couple have reportedly installed a new security system in their home the very next day. They have also installed a flagpole adorned with a rainbow flag.

DC Gay Man’s Death Ruled A Homicide

Jim Burroway

September 21st, 2011

Earlier reports that a Gaurav Gopalan, a Washington, D.C., man who was found dead September 10 while dressed in drag, died of natural causes appears to be wrong. The district’s Medical Examiner has ruled his death a homicide with the cause of death being blunt force trauma to the head.

Washington has seen a rash of shootings and attacks against transgender people, with four people shot since July and more than a dozen attacks against transgender women in the district this year. One woman died from the shootings. While Gopalan wasn’t transgender, his attack certainly fits the bill for an attack against gender variance.

DC Police Register Alarm Over Transgender Shootings

Jim Burroway

September 13th, 2011

A transgender woman was shot in the neck around 2:00 a.m. Monday in the Southeast section of Washington, D.C., making the incident the fourth reported shooting of a transgender person in D.C. since July. The woman, whose name is not available, suffered a non-fatal wound and walked into a district police station to report the attack. She is reportedly in stable condition at a local hospital. A suspect has been identified in that shooting and D.C. police expect to make an arrest soon.

The latest incident prompted the D.C. police to call a news conference yesterday to discuss the attacks. Transgender advocates Earline Budd and Ruby Corado, who also spoke at the media event, said the latest shooting was among more than a dozen attacks against transgender women in the district this year.

The latest rash of shootings began on July 20 when another transgender woman, 23-year-old Lashai Mclean, was shot to death at about 5:00 a.m. in Northeast Washington. Another transgender woman who was with Mclean told police that two men approached Mclean to ask a question, and shot her with a semiautomatic handgun before she could answer. Police do not yet have a suspect.

On July 31, an unidentified male shot at a transgender woman just a block away from where Mclean was shot. The woman was uninjured, but police say the shooting may point to a “potential emerging pattern.”

On August 26, an off-duty Police officer shot his service revolver at three transgender women and two male friends. Two of the women and one male were injured. Officer Kenneth Furr had reportedly proposition one of the transwmen for sex earlier that morning. Furr is being held without bail and has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

One August 31, two transgender women were threatened by a man in Northeast Washington, who told them they had five minutes to leave before would come back and shoot them.

On Sept 10, three other transgender women were threatened by a man with a gun in D.C.’s Chinatown. Police have arrested a suspect and are preparing to charge him with assault with a dangerous weapon with hate crime enhancements. The suspect’s name has not been released.

During the conference, police discussed the death, also on September 10, of an unidentified person who may be a transgender woman, although transgender advocates say that the person may be a man dressed in drag rather than someone identifying as female. The person was found dead in the Columbia Heights neighborhood at about 5:20 a.m. on September 10. Police are awaiting toxicology tests before determining the cause of death. There were no signs of trauma or external injuries. The deceased was found with money and jewelry, which rules out robbery as a motive for the possible crime.

Two Men Attacked In Wichita, KS

Jim Burroway

September 6th, 2011

From the Wichita Eagle:

Sgt. Jesse Boomer said two cars pulled up beside the 18- and 19-year-olds walking in the 1700 block of east Douglas, near Hydraulic, around 2:30 a.m. Six men, all in their late teens or early 20s, got out of the cars, accused the two men of “being homosexuals” and attacked them, Boomer said. The victims drove themselves to a local hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.

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