Brutal Atlanta beating of gay youth leads to calls for new hate crime laws
ATLANTA – A 20-year-old victim who was brutally beaten by a gang of men has spoken out about his ordeal. Brandon White, who is openly gay, says he just wants the men who attacked him to be held accountable for their actions.
Footage of the homophobic assault, which was uploaded to WorldStarHipHop.com by his attackers, shows White being beaten to the ground as the gang shout out anti-gay slurs. After its initial posting, the video went viral, surfacing on YouTube, The Smoking Gun and The Drudge Report.
White, who described his attackers as “monsters” at a news conference Wednesday in Atlanta, says at first he did not want to watch the video because he was “embarrassed.” White says he wants “justice to be done because he deserves it.”
WATCH A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY BRANDON WHITE HERE:
“If a straight person can walk into a store and not have a problem then I should be able to do the same thing,” says White. “I could have died that day.”
The video depicts the attack as White left the JVC Grocery and Deli on the corner of Delevan and McDaniel streets last Saturday.
The men punch and kick the victim. One person tosses a tire onto the victim. As he is beaten, an onlooker yells “no more fa**ots in Jack City,” repeatedly, which, according to multiple sources including The Smoking Gun, is an apparent reference to a local gang.
“I feel I was violated,” says White. “The scars run deeper than anyone will know. The physical pain, I can get over that. My thing is: Who’s to say they won’t come after me again? Who’s to say they won’t kill me?”
White has spoken with Atlanta police and Federal Investigators are looking into the attack.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said her office is looking into potential civil rights violations based on sexual orientation. Georgia does not have a state hate crimes statute.
An Atlanta gay activist says this is strong evidence for why Georgia needs anti-hate crime legislation.
“There were gay slurs thrown toward him. There were punches. There were kicks,” said activist Devin Barrington-Ward. “These young men committed a hate crime. There shouldn’t be a debate about that.”
A rally is scheduled to be held in Pittsburgh at 10am on Saturday to highlight the issue of hate crimes against the against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Police are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for the attack, and are asking anyone who has any information to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.
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