Showing posts with label Gay Killing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Killing. Show all posts

February 12, 2019

They Slid His Throat and with The Blood Wrote ‘Gay’ On The Wall

                                                METRO GRAB from sa_xoun instagram Man's blood used to write 'gay' on walls after having his throat slit Credit: sa_xoun

 An Algerian man was found dead in his room after two attackers followed him home and slit his throat, writing ‘gay’ on the wall with his own blood. 

21-year-old medical student Assil Belalta returned home around 7pm on Sunday night in the area of Ben Aknoun, Algiers. Assil’s friends found his lifeless body and reported it to the police. Assil Belalta was found dead in his room (Picture: sa_xoun). 
Alouen, an LGBTI activist group based in Algeria, confirmed the details of Belalta’s death. 

                                        METRO GRAB from sa_xoun instagram Man's blood used to write 'gay' on walls after having his throat slit Credit: sa_xoun

The group posted about the death on Facebook, calling the killing a ‘homophobic hate crime at the university city of Ben Aknoun in Algiers.’ The post went on to add: ‘This vile and homophobic act occurred two weeks after the statements of the president of the Algerian Magistrates Union, Mr. Laîdouni. ‘[He] said that human rights associations and NGOs asking for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Algeria and the fight against homophobia are “trampling on the values and foundations of the Algerian people, who do not show tolerance to homosexual people”, and that the magistrates will “face anyone who wants to establish laws against the specificities of the Algerian people”.’ Hundreds of students rallied outside the Faculty of Medicine to pay tribute to Assil (Picture: sa_xoun).

METRO GRAB FROM Alouen facebook group Man's blood used to write 'gay' on walls after having his throat slit Credit: Alouen/Facebook
Assil Belalta returned home around 7pm on Sunday night in the area of Ben Aknoun, Algiers (Picture: Alouen/Facebook)

 Basit Mahmoodn

Several hundred students rallied outside the Faculty of Medicine Ziania in Algiers this morning to pay tribute to Assil. According to local reports, they observed a minute of silence. The protestors also organized a human chain between the Faculty of Medicine and the university campus. Assil Belalta returned home around 7pm on Sunday night in the area of Ben Aknoun, Algiers (Picture: Alouen/Facebook) Algeria has one of the worst LGBT records in the world. Same-sex sexual activity can receive fines or up to three years in prison. There are also no anti-discrimination laws and no laws protecting same-sex couples.

January 11, 2019

Gay Rapper and LGBT Advocate Shot Dead Last Night in Puerto Rico, He Was 24

Image result for kevin fret dead
BBC Reports
         the rapper and outspoken advocate for the LGBT community 
    Kevin Fret has been shot dead in Puerto Rico aged 24. 
            The musician, described as Latin Trap music's first openly gay artist, was killed in the capital San Juan on Thursday morning, police said.
    Fret was shot at eight times while riding a motorbike in the street, and he was hit in the head and hip.
    His death brings the number of murders in Puerto Rico this year to 22, police added.  
    Confirming his death, Fret's manager Eduardo Rodriguez said: "There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go. 
    "We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico."

    What happened?

    Fret was out in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan at 5:30 local time (9:30 GMT) on Thursday when he was fatally shot.
    He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead. 
    Police are now searching for another man on a motorcycle who was with Fret when he was found but quickly fled the scene.
    There is no immediate indication of a motive, and an investigation is underway. 
    Puerto Rico has seen a rise in street crime in recent weeks, which has been described by police on the Caribbean island as a "crisis of violence".

    Who is Kevin Fret?

    The Puerto Rican was a rising trap artist in the Latin rap scene, and his debut music video, Soy Asi (I'm Like This), has more than half a million views on YouTube.
    Mr. Rodriguez described the rapper as "an artistic soul" who had a passion for music. "He still had a lot left to do."

    Presentational white space

    "I'm a person that doesn't care what anybody has to say," Fret told online magazine Paper last year.
    "[Now I see] young gay guys or young lesbians that are looking at me now like a role model, like wow, if he did it, and he doesn't care what anybody else has to say, I can do it."
    However, Fret's rise to prominence was not without turbulence - while living in Miami last year, he was charged with battery after a fight, media reported. 
    He said he had been attacked because of his sexuality, and threw a metal bottle at the man.
    Fret has also responded strongly to homophobic threats in the lyrics of a rival musician, making some of his supporters wonder whether his murder was motivated by hate.

    What is trap music?

    The trap is a style of Southern hip hop, popularised in the late 90s and early 00s. It is characterized by its use of multilayered energetic and hard-hitting sounds and the overall dark atmosphere.
    The word "trap" refers to where drug deals happen, and the lyrics, which are both sung and rapped, often reflect the poverty, violence and street life that artists have faced.
    The Latin variant of the genre gained popularity in the Caribbean in the 2010s and is typically sung in Spanish.
    It mixes American trap, rhythm and blues and local sounds like Puerto Rican reggaeton.
    Well-known Latin trap rappers like Bad Bunny, Messiah and Ozuna have collaborated with mainstream hip hop artists like Drake and Cardi B.

    December 11, 2018

    $1 Million Reward on Scott Johnson's Death Determined to be a Gay Hate Crime in Sydney

    Scott Johnson's death was determined to have been the result of a gay hate crime.
     Scott Johnson's death was determined to have been the result of a gay hate crime.

    A A$1 million (NZ$1.04m) reward and a "fresh eyes" police investigation has been announced into the death of young American Scott Johnson, 30 years to the day since he fell from a cliff in Australia - now deemed to be a gay-hate killing.
    Scott's brother Steve Johnson, who never believed the original finding of suicide, had flown to Sydney from the US to stand alongside New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Sunday morning and announce the state government's tenfold increase in the reward for information leading to the killer or killers.
    "Someone knows what happened to Scott, either because they were present or because they heard of what happened from others who were present," says Johnson, a tech entrepreneur who has spent more than A$1 million of his own money seeking the truth since 2005.
    That campaign has thrown the spotlight on dozens of other gay-hate killings and assaults, currently the focus of a NSW upper house parliamentary inquiry, which has discussed the prospect of establishing a judicial commission.
    Anglers found the naked body of Scott, a 27-year-old mathematics PhD student, at the base of a 60m cliff near Blue Fish Point, just south of Manly, on the morning of December 10, 1988.
    Police now accept the cliff-top area was a gay beat, where men gathered for casual sex, and in November last year the then state coroner Michael Barnes concluded two or more assailants - motivated by hatred of gays - either pushed Scott off the cliff or that he fell while trying to escape. 
    Steve Johnson said: "It is likely that those who were involved in Scott's death would have bragged about it given the culture of gay-hate amongst groups in Sydney at the time. It's 30 years to the day since Scott's death. I encourage anyone who has any information to come forward and provide it."
    Of more than 240 rewards on offer in NSW, this becomes only the seventh elevated to $1million. Police Minister Troy Grant said: "I hope it finally leads to the answers that Scott's family have been seeking."
    Commissioner Fuller said: "Scott's death is possibly one of the most challenging investigations I've seen - and it's believed one of the greatest hindrances has been an unwillingness for witnesses to come forward."
    He said the reward could be "that final motivation needed for someone to speak with police".
    Detective Chief Inspector Peter Yeomans has since September been leading a specialist investigative team, Strike Force Welsford, which is conducting "fresh inquiries" into the case.
    DCI Pamela Young, formerly of the force's Unsolved Homicide Team, led a two-year re-investigation of the case which, in 2015, advised the coroner there was no evidence to support a finding of homicide.
    Coroner Barnes demanded her removal from the case following an ABC television interview in which she claimed former police minister Mike Gallacher "kowtowed" to the Johnson family's influence and improperly sought priority for Scott's investigation above hundreds of unsolved homicides.
    Gallacher said yesterday: "This announcement vindicates my belief that this case needed a fresh set of eyes."
    Barnes, after hearing testimony from a succession of known gay bashers - all denying they killed Scott - was unable to identify any suspects.
    Fuller said: "This case captured the attention of people around the world and has certainly stayed in the hearts and minds of the LGBTIQ community, and to keep the investigation progressing, we need people to talk to us."
    Johnson pleaded to anyone who knew what happened: "Do this for Scott, do this for all gay men who were subject to gay hate, and now, do it for yourself."

    Sydney Morning Herald

    This is a follow up story this blog is followed through the years
     Steve Johnson at the site of Scott Johnson’s death, which was part of a pattern of homophobia-driven crimes in the 1980s and ’90s. “This isn’t just about Scott’s case,” Steve Johnson said. “I think all these cases need to be looked at.”CreditMatthew Abbott for The New York Times

    December 6, 2018

    Kept Boy of Famous Jeweler Got The Maximum for Punching and Dismembering Body of a Young Man From Conn.

    Follow up
    You come from nothing but because of your looks you get a rich man on your work out at the gym to pay attention to you and to make you his son. He gives you everything most young guys can dream of but will never get. But He brows it away through drugs and killing an innocent man visiting NYC which made the deadly mistakento go for this guys' looks and his boy friend's and follow them after drinking and drugging all night to the luxury condo. Comes morning and the time in which Phychopaths awake without anything to control them becausse the booze and drugs are spent. Someone's head was the way he and his boyfriend would get their rocks off on that early morning before even knowing wether they were dreaming or just having a good time.
    He will now have the other inmates make friends with him, most of his life if not all. Even if he gets out he will be an old man with no more rich guys paying attention to him, that is if he gets out after 28 years which is doubful when a parole board see the the kind of murder he commited.
    Center is the victim Joseph Comunale, a 26-year-old Hofstra graduate from Stamford, Conn. Grisly murdered on a day visit to Manhattan. On the right side and left are accused murderers and lovers. Now one convicted of killing Joseph and getting max.
     James Rackover in Manhattan Criminal Court 
    Pat Comunale stood at the podium before a packed courtroom across from James Rackover, the man convicted last month in the brutal murder of his son. He dabbed his eyes with a tissue and choked out his words.
    “We wake up everyday with the horror of what happened to him,” he said. “There are no more holidays, no more birthdays, just days that go by.”
    Mr. Comunale recounted his son Joseph’s final moments: He was beaten and stabbed to death after a night of partying in Manhattan. His body was pushed from the fourth floor window of an East Side apartment building. Later it was burned and buried in a shallow grave on the Jersey Shore. For that, Mr. Comunale told a judge in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Rackover deserved the maximum sentence permitted under the law.
    Justice James Burke agreed. He sentenced Mr. Rackover, 27, on Wednesday to a minimum of 28 and 2/3 years in prison and a maximum of life for the murder of Mr. Comunale and related charges.

    “There remains no truly understandable reason that Joey Comunale is dead today,” Judge Burke said. “In a normal course of events, people drink and do drugs and party all night long all the time, and without being savagely murdered.”
    Prosecutors maintain that Mr. Rackover did not act alone. They say the evidence shows another man, Lawrence Dilione, 30, beat Mr. Comunale, 26, until he was unconscious, and then he and Mr. Rackover stabbed him 15 times. A third man, Max Gemma, is accused of hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence. Mr. Gemma and Mr. Dilione are scheduled to be tried next year.
    Two years ago, Mr. Comunale traveled from his home in Stamford, Conn., to Manhattan for a night out with friends. He met Mr. Dilione and Mr. Gemma at a nightclub.
    Their night of partying continued at Mr. Rackover’s apartment at the luxurious Grand Sutton on East 59th Street, where a group of men and women drank alcohol and snorted cocaine.
    What exactly happened inside of his apartment is a bit of a mystery. Prosecutors did not have any eyewitnesses who could describe what transpired before Mr. Comunale was murdered early on Nov. 13, 2016.

    But the police found evidence that prosecutors said showed Mr. Rackover and Mr. Dilione had stabbed Mr. Comunale and then tried to clean up the scene. Mr. Comunale’s blood, for example, was found throughout the apartment and his wallet was in the building. The police also tracked Mr. Rackover’s car with cellphone data and license plate readers to a wooded area in Oceanport, N.J., where the body was buried.
    During the trial, Mr. Rackover’s lawyer, Maurice H. Sercarz, argued that it was not his client who killed Mr. Comunale, but rather Mr. Dilione. He said Mr. Rackover was drunk and high at the time and only helped in moving Mr. Comunale’s body out of his apartment because he worried his rich lifestyle was in jeopardy.
    Before his client was sentenced, Mr. Sercarz asked the judge for leniency, pointing to Mr. Rackover’s troubled childhood in Florida, where he was born to a young mother and an abusive father. “He left Florida to put behind him his childhood and the hardship he suffered,” Mr. Sercarz told the judge. He added that his client has been “hungry for family” and that was why he helped Mr. Dilione get rid of Mr. Comunale’s body.
    Mr. Rackover, who was born James Beaudoin II, changed his last name in 2015 to that of his intimate partner, Jeffrey Rackover, who legally adopted him, court papers said. Jeffrey Rackover is a jeweler whose clients include Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez and first lady Melania Trump.
    The lead prosecutor, Antoinette Carter, described Mr. Rackover as a liar who had stolen from Jeffrey Rackover to pay off drug debts. Ms. Carter noted that Mr. Rackover had done a stint in prison for gun possession, but it “did nothing to rehabilitate him.”
    “He lived a life of unmerited privilege, the likes of which most New Yorkers can only dream of,” Ms. Carter said. “He chose to throw all of that away.”

    3 Month Anniversary of The Lynching Death of LGBTQ Advocate in Greece Zak Kostopoulos

    Activist and LGBTQI advocate Zak Kostopoulos. Photo widely circulated online.
    On September 21, well-known Greek LGBTQI activist Zak Kostopoulos was lynched in Athens in a case that shocked and divided Greek society, and whose repercussions are still being felt.
    The case first became known to the public through a series of three citizenvideos [trigger warning: disturbing content] showing a man being beaten up by two others on Gladstone Street in Omonoia Square while a crowd watched. His identity at that point was unknown. One of the videos shows two police officers kicking and then handcuffing the victim as he lied unconscious on a pool of blood on the ground.
    One day after the videos circulated, the man's identity was released: he was Zacharias Kostopoulos, 33, better known as Zak or Zackie Oh, an LGBTQI and HIV-positive activist, writer, and drag queen.
    While the two perpetrators — the jeweller himself and a neighbouring shopkeeper — were arrested soon thereafter, the revelation of Zak's identity turned out to be a pivotal moment in the story — it unleashed both overwhelming demands for justice from LGBTQI communities from across the country, as well as hate speech against such communities and Zak himself.
    Inflaming that hate speech, in particular, was Greek mainstream media, who portrayed Zak as a “junkie robber” and the perpetrators as the victims who were merely trying to protect their businesses.
    For example, while the media reported the cause of death as “undetermined“, the initial forensic notes actually said “cannot be determined yet” — meaning that a definite conclusion could only be made after the histological and toxicological exams had been cleared.
    The “junkie” narrative was echoed by many on social media, where it latched on homophobic views as well. In September, journalist and author Vassilis Kasimatis posted on Facebook an opinion that resonates with that of many other Greeks:
    Zak Kostopoulos. FROM A CRIMINAL ROBBER… [to a] A HERO!!
    The fact that this tramp Zak was gay should not influence our judgement. Because we subconsciously target again the gay community for no real reason. Same with the unscrupulous gay parades. The only aim of SYRIZA [the ruling political party] is to provoke hatred among the people. The fact that they have appointed an openly declared homosexual as director of the Anti-racist Violence Department, who makes casually unacceptable announcements (such as the latest solidarity call with the robber Zak) serves the same purpose. (He must be moved IMMEDIATELY!!)
    A gay man (Zak) did the felony of robbery. The jeweller rightly defended himself. End of story. Enough.
    I want to believe that the “landlord” will be fully acquitted in court and all will end up there.
    Do not wonder if they make a statue to Zak as they did with Pavlos Fyssas [an antifascist Greek rapper murdered in 2013].
    Meanwhile, the investigation into Zak's murder was fraught with delays and shortcomings.
    Besides the apparent use of excessive force on a person who was unconscious, police officers failed to collect evidence from the crime scene in time, nor did they obtain testimony from eyewitnesses — the owner even managed to tidy up the store afterwards.
    However, police trade union officers have lauded their colleagues’ behaviour. The president of the union, Dimosthenis Pakos, told TV station ANT1:
    All police practices say the same thing. They are going to an incident where they have to deal with an armed and running amok person. That's what they know; nothing else. In order to be handcuffed and not to injure a passing citizen or himself, the practice is the same. Take it or leave it.
    The attitude of National Emergency Center's staff was also questioned — one video shows two EKAB men standing aside as the police kick the victim.
    On November 20, the final postmortem's results were released: Zak has suffered ischemic-type myocardial lesions due to the multiple injuries in his body, which caused intense stimulation and consequently his death. The results of the toxicology tests were also clear.
    But Faye Karavasili made a reflection on her Facebook page: what if the victim was a “junkie”?
    So, there goes the “junkie robber” theory.
    His tox screen was clean and he died as a direct result of the lynching he received. He didn't overdose. He didn't catch a cold.
    But that is not the scary part. What really scares me is the need for the side of the victim to prove they were a “good guy” after all, as if “bad guys”” and “junkies” and “petty criminals”, none of which was the case for Zak, can have their rights revoked and their lives removed without due process or trial by any crowd at any time. I know that if I didn't know him, maybe I wouldn't have been so vested into finding out what happened to him. All the same, I refuse to live in a society that justifies the mob killing of a weakened man of less than 50 kg in the middle of the day in the middle of Athens at the hands of a crowd. If that really were a junkie, we would not be having this conversation now and it is a bloody crucial conversation to have. You can't both love law and order AND applaud such suspension of BOTH. You can't complain about the violence if you are the one justifying it or inflicting it directly. Every day, Greece disgusts me more.

    Displays of solidarity

    A moment from a protest dedicated to Zak Kostopoulos in Athens, October 2, 2018. Photo by FB public timeline of photojournalist Marios Lolos. Used with permission.
    On October 2, LGBTQI organisations, anti-racist collectives and non-parliamentary left-wing organisations held a mass protest in central Athens. On October 6, activists visited the President of the Hellenic Parliament and filed a petition demanding the case to be investigated. Soon afterwards, the attorney general opened an investigation of a possible racist motive behind the murder of Zak Kostopoulos.
    Over 200 Greek journalists and photographers signed a statement critiquing the sensational and accusatory way Greek media covered the story. Dozens of artists have also signed an open letter demanding clarification of the circumstances under which Zak lost his life.
    About a month after the incident, Zak's mother, Eleni Kostopoulou, sent a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calling for the “fair punishment” of those who participated in the murder of her son. The Prime Minister replied two days later saying that her loss shall not be forgotten by those who are committed to the struggle for a society where human life is the ultimate value.
    On November 20, the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a 2011 speech by Zak was screened for a mass gathering in Athens. Afterwards, the participants marched towards the Greek Parliament while holding candles. A similar event was also held in Thessaloniki.
    The Forensic Architecture Research Center has announced its support to Zak's family and for this reason, it has established an exclusive platform for the collection of audiovisual material about his case, and submission of content can be made anonymously.
    A volunteer initiative, Justice 4 Zak/Zackie, was also set up to bring justice to Zak Kostopoulos.
    Zak's Facebook profile, which is now a memorialised account, is flooded with thousands of messages of solidarity.

    October 28, 2018

    Matthew Sheppard Remains Finally Find A Place To Rest

     Dennis and Judy Shepard walked behind Rev. V. Gene Robinson, carrying
     the ashes of their son Matthew Shepard during a service at Washington
    National Cathedral on Friday.
    CreditCreditCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    It took decades to find a safe place for the remains of Matthew Shepard, whose murder in 1998 as a 21-year-old college student turned him into a symbol of violence against gay people.
    But rest finally found him on Friday during a ceremony of prayer, speeches and hymns at the Washington National Cathedral, the neo-Gothic, Episcopal house of worship that is a fixture of American politics and religion in Washington.
    His father, Dennis Shepard, said last month that the cathedral was an appropriate place for his son, who was once an altar boy in the Episcopal Church, to be buried, and one that he would have loved.
    Mr. Shepard; his wife, Judy Shepard; and their two children watched as the urn bearing Matthew’s ashes was conveyed down the aisle in a candlelit procession.

    A single flute played “Morning Has Broken.”
    “It is so important that we now have a home for Matt,” said Mr. Shepard, addressing the congregation. “A home that others can visit. A home that is safe from haters.”
    Attendees, some of them weeping, filled the pews as Mr. Shepard spoke during the ceremony, which lasted more than an hour and was broadcast live on national television. The pews appeared almost filled to capacity in the 2,300-seat nave of the cathedral.

    Dennis Shepard/Matthew Shepard Foundation, via Associated Press

    Mr. Shepard’s remains were later interred in the crypt, according to Kevin Eckstrom, a spokesman for the cathedral.
    In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was robbed by two men, pistol-whipped and tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyo., where he hung bleeding in the cold until a passing bicyclist spotted him. He later died in a hospital.

    Mourners flocked to his funeral in Casper, Wyo., but so did protesters carrying derogatory signs.
    His parents wrestled with a location for a burial after that, fearing it would be at risk of desecration. The family had considered other options, including spreading his ashes over the mountains and plains of Wyoming. But they settled on the cathedral because they wanted a place they could visit to talk to him.
    And that is what his father during his speech on Friday encouraged others to do.
    “Matt was blind just like this beautiful house of worship,” Dennis Shepard said. “He did not see skin color. He did not see religion. He did not see sexual orientation. All he saw was a chance to have another friend. Just like this beautiful home we have here right now.”
    He thanked those gathering for “helping us take Matt home.”
    Mr. Shepard and others who addressed the congregation emphasized that the cathedral was an inclusive, accepting place, whether they were religious or not, and regardless of their sexual orientation.
    Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in 2003 but has since retired, gave the homily.
    “If you close your eyes and open your hearts, Matt is right here,” he said. Then later, weeping, he said there were three things he wanted to say to Matthew:
    “Gently rest in this place. You are safe now. Oh yeah, and Matt, welcome home. Amen.”
    Bishop Robinson had been working with Mr. Shepard’s parents on issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for years. When Judy Shepard asked him about the possibility of interring her son’s ashes at the cathedral, he said, he helped to make it happen.

     Oct 9, 1999, Credit Ed Andriesk/AP

    On Friday in his homily, the bishop said he had been crying for a week. He praised Mr. Shepard’s parents for not just grieving privately but for turning his killing, “this horrendous event,” into “something good.”

    Bishop Robinson also referred to other victims of hate crimes, recalling James Byrd Jr., a black man who was dragged to death behind a pickup truck in Texas by white supremacists in 1998. Bishop Robinson noted that Mr. Shepard’s name was included on a law in 2009that expanded the definition of violent federal hate crimes to include those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation.
    He urged people to remember the “bigger picture,” and the dangers of labeling others as “different from ourselves, which is code for not really human, and then you can do anything to them that you like.”
    “People of color know that. The L.G.B.T.Q. community knows that,” he added. “And we are seeing way too much of that at the moment.”
    The ceremony came days after The New York Times reported that the Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in rolling back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.
    “Violence takes lots of forms, and right now the transgender community is the target,” Bishop Robinson said. “There are forces about who would erase them in America. Deny them the right they have to define themselves.”
    “And they need us to stand with them,” he said.
    Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, told the gathering that 20 years of mourning was not enough for someone who is loved.
    “Nor can 20 years heal the grief of such a loss,” she said.

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