Showing posts with label Hate Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hate Crime. Show all posts

January 30, 2019

Actor Jussie Smollett (Empire) Assaulted in a Hate Crime Incident with Two Men

                                          Image result for Jussie Smollett

(By David K. Li)

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was assaulted in Chicago on Tuesday by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him and wrapped a rope around his neck in an attack police are investigating as a hate crime, officials said.

Smollett, 36, had just landed in town from New York was out getting a bite to eat at about 2 a.m. CT (3 a.m. ET) in the East North Lower Water Street when two men attacked him, the actor told police.

Two "unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him," according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department. "The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim."

"At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim's neck," the statement continued. "The offenders fled the scene."

Smollett took himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries were not immediately known. 

On "Empire," Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, the estranged son of his music-industry titan father played by Terrence Howard. Jamal is a gay singer-songwriter and his sexual orientation and career independent has him at odds the family patriarch.

Smollett came out as gay to Out Magazine in 2016, a few months after "Empire" first aired on
Latest}}}Jussie was released from the hospital this morning, according to TMZ. He reportedly suffered from a fractured rib. According to a police statement given to ET, the Chicago Police Department is “taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.” Find a statement from CPD below. Let me just add there is a lot of jealousy for a good looking, adult  black man to be so succesful and talented.

February 19, 2017

Number of Hate Groups on the Rise Second Year in a Row

                         A Neo-Nazi in the United States – Photo: Froofroo, via Wikimedia.
A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center finds the number of hate groups in the United States has increased for the second year in a row. SPLC, which conducts a yearly census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, attributes part of this increase to the rise of the “radical right,” which they say was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump.
According to the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, he most dramatic increase occurred in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups, which almost tripled in number, from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016. SPLC notes that the growth in anti-Muslim groups has accompanied a number of crimes targeting Muslims, including the burning of a mosque in Victoria, Texas just hours after the Trump administration issued an executive order suspending travel from a list of seven Muslim-majority nations.
The total number of hate groups currently operating in the United States is up to 917, up from 892 in 2015. While the number of hate groups reached its peak in 2011 — when there were 1,018 active groups — this year’s total number of hate groups is still high by historical standards.  
“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” Mark Potok, an SPLC senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report, said in a statement. “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. In [Presidential Adviser] Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear.”
The Intelligence Report finds that there are 52 active groups whose mission is expressly anti-LGBT, though other groups typically associated with white nationalism, Neo-Nazism, or other causes may also hold anti-LGBT views. Locally, there are five anti-LGBT hate groups listed for the D.C./Virginia/Maryland region: the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council, and the Center for Family and Human Rights, in Washington; Public Advocate of the United States (run by notorious anti-LGBT former Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio) in Falls Church, Va.; and Mass Resistance Virginia, in Yorktown, Va.
There are 21 recognized hate groups in total whose operations are centered in Washington, D.C., 18 in Maryland, and 39 in Virginia — most of which are located in Northern Virginia or the Hampton Roads areas. Some of the more infamous ones in our area include ACT for America, an anti-Muslim organization in Leesburg; American Renaissance/New Century Foundation, in Oakton; the Southern National Congress, in Alexandria; the East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire, in Annapolis; the League of the South, in Clements, Md.; and the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group based in Silver Spring, Md.
SPLC notes that the number of hate groups likely understates the level of organized hatred in America, as a growing number of extremists operate mainly online and are not formally affiliated with recognized hate groups.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

February 7, 2017

“We Won, So You Better Watch Ur Back” Gay Business Owner Targeted


A Seattle business owner is speaking out after becoming the target of a hate crime. After news of the incident started spreading on social media, Seattle Police decided to host a community discussion about it this week.
“I've never had to hide for one minute who I was in this neighborhood,” said Aaron Amundsen, co-owner of Emerald City Tattoo and Supply in the Lake City neighborhood.  
One morning, a week after the election, his business partner, Tony Johns, found a note on Amundsen's windshield.
“I saw there was a note on my best friend’s car,” said Johns, “So I walked up and I pulled it out from under there and I read it. I came in, and I was quite upset.”
“This is the start of something really ugly,” Johns remembered thinking. “It broke my heart, it truly broke my heart.”
A Seattle business owner is speaking out after becoming the target of a hate crime. After news of the incident started spreading on social media, Seattle Police decided to host a community discussion about it this week.
“I've never had to hide for one minute who I was in this neighborhood,” said Aaron Amundsen, co-owner of Emerald City Tattoo and Supply in the Lake City neighborhood.  
One morning, a week after the election, his business partner, Tony Johns, found a note on Amundsen's windshield.
“I saw there was a note on my best friend’s car,” said Johns, “So I walked up and I pulled it out from under there and I read it. I came in, and I was quite upset.”
“This is the start of something really ugly,” Johns remembered thinking. “It broke my heart, it truly broke my heart.”

The note read, “Hey (expletive-see video). We won, so you better watch you're [sic] back. You're [sic] days are numberd [sic]. Make America STRAIGHT again to make it GREAT again. You will see, you (expletive).”
“It was like someone punched me in the gut,” said Amundsen, “because I had never experience in my life and I've been out since high school. I've never experienced something so threatening.”
The Seattle Police LGBT liaison, Officer Jim Ritter, who started the Safe Place program, calls it malicious harassment, a hate crime. 
“It is clearly a threat based on a threat of the victim's sexually identity,” said Ritter. “It's pre-meditated and the victim was targeted.”
Last week, SPD released the latest numbers and categories for hate crimes in the city, with incidents against the LGBT community the second highest're [sic] back. You're [sic] days are numberd [sic]. Make America STRAIGHT again to make it GREAT again. You will see, you (expletive).”
“It was like someone punched me in the gut,” said Amundsen, “because I had never experience in my life and I've been out since high school. I've never experienced something so threatening.”
The Seattle Police LGBT liaison, Officer Jim Ritter, who started the Safe Place program, calls it malicious harassment, a hate crime. 
“It is clearly a threat based on a threat of the victim's sexually identity,” said Ritter. “It's pre-meditated and the victim was targeted.”
Last week, SPD released the latest numbers and categories for hate crimes in the city, with incidents against the LGBT community the second highest category.
Elisa Hahn, KING

September 14, 2016

Rundown Death of Black Youth Updated to Hate Crime

 Russell Orlando Courtier, 38 and Colleen hunt, 35

An Oregon man and his girlfriend accused of intentionally running down a black teen after an altercation in a convenience store parking lot face new hate crime charges alleging they targeted the victim because of his race.

Russell Orlando Courtier, 38, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of first- and second-degree intimidation in the death of Larnell Malik Bruce, court documents say. Colleen Hunt, 35, who was in the passenger seat, pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree intimidation.

Under Oregon law, a charge of intimidation means the defendants are accused of acting based on their perception of the victim's race, color, religion or disability.

The two had previously pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in the death of 19-year-old Bruce, of Vancouver, Washington.

Last month, The Portland Mercury raised questions about Courtier's possible affiliation with a white supremacist group after finding pictures on his Facebook page that show him with a tattoo of "EK," which stands for European Kindred. At the time, authorities had not charged him or Hunt with a hate crime, but were investigating.

Gresham police said Tuesday the defendants' "clear ties" to a white supremacist gang were initially not enough to charge them with a hate crime.
"Anything like this, we have to be very careful in looking at motive before we just assume something that may seem very clear to other people," said Officer John Rasmussen, a spokesman for the Gresham police. “We have to be sure to tie it in correctly to where it could withstand a court trial.”

19-year-old Bruce (victim), of Vancouver, Washington
Additional investigation, including more witness interviews and input from experts on white supremacists, led a grand jury to re-indict the couple Monday.
Attorneys for Courtier and Hunt did not return phone calls Tuesday.

According to court documents, Bruce and Courtier got into an argument that turned physical outside a Gresham 7-Eleven on Aug. 10. Bruce was armed with a machete.

It still isn't clear what the two were fighting about, but moments later Courtier jumped in his 1991 Jeep Wrangler and chased down Bruce as the teen ducked and wove through the parking lot on foot, according to an affidavit for probable cause. Surveillance video shows the Jeep turning around rapidly and accelerating toward Bruce as he tries to flee.
The video did not capture the moment Bruce was struck, the affidavit said, but a responding officer found him unconscious on the ground with blood streaming from his head and ears. The officer also spotted a red Jeep speeding away.
Hunt shouted "Get him, baby, get him" during the fight, but has denied any involvement in Bruce's death, according to court papers.
Bruce died three days after being struck.

Hate Crimes Up in Detroit } Gay Man Shot on Date from FaceBook

In Detroit's third serious anti-LGBT assault since July, a gay man was shot and nearly killed after a teen lured him to quiet meeting spot.

The 19-year-old shooter, Kaleel Williams, is currently in police custody and has been charged with assault with intent to murder. According to local news station WXYZ, police say Williams met his gay victim on Facebook in late August, then invited him to meet in person.

When the victim showed up at the corner of Appoline and Grove in a quiet residential area of Detroit's west side, he reportedly noticed that the guy he was there to meet was wearing white latex gloves on his hands. Police say the LGBT victim became alarmed immediately and started to back away. Then Williams pulled out a gun and began shooting while yelling homophobic slurs.

The victim was hit by two bullets as he ran away, and collapsed in the street—where a neighbor called 911.

"I heard gun shots and heard him yelling, saying he got shot," a different, anonymous witness told WXYZ. "It's really messed up how people not really past that, you know what I'm saying? It's 2016, so we should really accept other things and how people believe, because a lot of times people can't really help who they are."

Anti-LGBT crimes appear to be on the rise in Michigan, something the newly formed Fair Michigan Justice Project hopes to curb. The nonprofit formed this summer in order to raise money for a special investigator and prosecutor to work with local police on anti-LGBT violence.

Detroit's LGBT community began pressing for law enforcement to investigate hate crimes after the 2015 murder of Amber Monroe, a 20-year-old transgender woman. But the pressure to take the reins grew after the Orlando massacre in which 49 LGBT people were killed this June. 

Michigan law currently offers no legal protections related to sexual orientation or gender identity—which could be part of why the LGBT community there now has to fund its own law enforcement team to investigate the spate of violence.

Fair Michigan quickly helped secure a hate crime conviction just one month after it was formed in July: Byron Wade was convicted of a felony assault charge in after trying to stab a 22-year-old gay black man while calling him a "fag," "queer," and "bitch" in August.

In a press release, Fair Michigan President Dana Nessel used the case as an example of why the program was so necessary.

"LGBTQ people are far more likely to be targeted for hate crimes than any other minority group. Despite this, LGBTQ victims are less likely to feel safe reporting these incidents," Nessel said. “The Fair Michigan Justice Project provides a resource for hate crime victims to ensure their cases will be handled with respect and that the assailants will be prosecuted.

September 12, 2016

Be Better, Be Braver, Hatred kills } 9/11 Lessons For Gays Too

When I moved back to NYC shortly after 911 one of the first new gay friends I made and who was always friendly towards me even giving me a job lead which proved fruitful. His name is Tony(not the name I knew him under). We were always cordial to each other and for a while we even worked for the same company which he had recommended to me.

One day we bumped to each other taking the Staten Island Ferry which gave us about 20-25 minutes to talk uninterrupted. He was holding a book on his hands and I made the mistake of asking him what kind of book it was. It was an anti moslem book which he praised and went on to tell me how the muslims were going to take over the US and particularly come after the gays here. He kept saying what the moslem were going to do to gays, referring to this book and giving as proof what the book said.

I could not believe how little I knew this person. I found his opinions childish but as he kept on going I felt he was trying to convert me to his way of thinking, now I found that intolerable as I find when people push the envelope to try not to give their opinions but to create a convert. I come from that world and I resent it., as I no longer hold those views.  I knew he was a practicing catholic and I tried to referred to other teachings of love and acceptance in which his faith was based.  To my surprise he found that offensive and became very angry at me as he said for throwing religion at him. The Ferry arrived to my relief and we parted in the middle of the conversation but after an on line encounter on another day we ended no longer wanting to talk to each other. Not that we were great friend but it was so amazing and hurtful that a gay person who was the victim of all sorts of name calling and untruths to spread fear and bias based on someone’s religion.  I found it hard to wrap my mind around that a gay person would have such hatred towards anyone person they never met.

As a gay man I find it difficult to see gays be bias against any particular person based on generalities of gender, sexual orientation, disability, skin color or by what others of their kind have done good or bad. I hold every person as I hold every organization, company, club, religion by the imprints of their own actions not about what they say about themselves or necessarily by what others say about them. 

Michael Lambert wrote about a similar experience on I invite you to read his experience in memoriam of 9/11.


Five years after 9/11, I met a Muslim for the first time. He was a young man in my freshman French class. He was shy, bright, and incredibly fascinating.

He introduced himself as Mohammed. Our white teacher called him Mohammed during role call. But every time the other kids in the class spoke to him—first-generation students from Pakistani or Bangladeshi families—they called him a different name. They called him Osama.

A few weeks into term, I finally asked him what his name was—his real name. His real name, the one he answered to, was Osama. He started going by Mohammed once he started high school. He was afraid to go by his real name around white students.

As a class, we made one thing clear: we were going to call him what he wanted to be called. And he went by Osama for the rest of high school.

Today we remember the 15 years since the 9/11 terror attacks—when Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. The legacy of this day is strange. An American feels incredible pain, yet pride. To relive the stories of the first-responders at Ground Zero, or to retell the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 to overcome their hijackers, is to feel both pain and pride in dizzyingly equal measure.

Every year we remember 9/11, it’s not just about the day. It’s about the decade, now the decade-and-a-half, of war that followed—that has shaped the world view of hundreds of thousands across American society. Ground campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone strikes from the Hindu Kush to the Gulf of Aden, a savage and cratered Levant—terror has made us, and the world, more terrifying.

The terror that was in Osama’s eyes when he had to tell his white classmates his real name has gone nowhere. In 15 years, that terror has grown stronger—and this year, the LGBT community is vulnerable to succumbing to that terror.

After the Pulse nightclub shooting this summer, when Omar Mateen pledged loyalty to the so-called Islamic State, some LGBTs reacted with a fear of Muslims that hasn’t been seen since the weeks and months after 9/11. If that raises any skepticism, look at the LGBT supporters at this year’s Republican convention. Look at the Gays for Trump. Look at Donald Trump touting his support of the LGBT community on the sole assertion that he will “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” 

This day is sacred to us for the lives lost, the lives saved, and the saviors of all races, faiths, and sexualities who banded together to rebuild. Those are the examples we as Americans should bring forth every day of our lives. But the fear of Muslim Americans is not a legacy we can bear repeating—especially among queer people. We are, quite simply, better than this.

If 15 years of a “war on terror” have taught us anything, it’s that fear begets fear. Queer people have always lived in a world of fear. Let’s not have a hand in creating that fear for another community.

September 7, 2016

911 Calls of a Gay Black Man Being Beaten by Hassidic Jews /Heard in Court

Follow Up

 Taj Patterson looks bad but he is lucky to be alive and to New Yorkers who got involved

We have been following the incident of a gay black man being merciless beaten by a group
of coward *Hassidic’s men in a Brooklyn Street. The New York Daily News have been there from the beginning and thanks to their coverage we can keep track of the trial of the defendants that did not go into a plea agreement.

*Hassidic is a sect of more conservative jews who observe a more conservative view of the Old Testament. They dress differently, tend to live in the same neighborhoods, their own security, ambulance and they only work for each other. They tend to be quiet and mind their business 
when out and about in the city but in the neighborhood where they live they tend to behave as if the sidewalks and street belongs to them. I know because I happened to have lived by one of their neighborhoods in Boro Park, NY. and have worked among some of them.

A Brooklyn judge presiding over the gang assault trial of a Hasidic Jewish man listened to what 
may be the most compelling testimony of the case presented by prosecutors — two 911 calls.
Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough
 introduced two emergency calls placed during the early morning of Dec. 1, 2013, when Taj Patterson was brutally beaten 
allegedly by a group of Jewish men including Mayer Herskovic — 
in Williamsburg.
“There’s a bunch of Jewish guys beating up a black kid... 
There’s like 20 Jewish men and one, one black kid,” 
said the unknown female caller.
“I didn’t see any weapons — it just didn't look good — 
he was begging for a ride, but I didn’t want to put him in my car... 
It doesn’t look safe,” she continued.
Earlier in the non-jury trial, Patterson testified to Brooklyn Supreme 
Court Justice Danny Chun that he was walking towards his 
Fort Greene home on 
Flushing Ave. when he heard the scream of a “negative slur” and 
saw someone running after him.
As the group of alleged assailants grew to almost two dozen men, Patterson desperately 
attempted to retreat into two vehicles that were driving by, 
but neither stopped.
 Video surveillance showed Patterson banging on the cars and running 
away from at least three people — one wearing a jacket used by Shomrim, 
a group of Jewish civilian patrols.
One of the drivers called 911. “It looked like one of the guys was using a 
phone to hit him, but I didn't see any weapons... Yeah, they (sic) looked fine, 
he was begging for a ride. They were telling us not to let him in the car 
so we didn't want to get involved,” she told the operator.
The caller also described a traffic jam near the intersection of Flushing Ave. 
and Warsaw Pl. and urged the operator to send an ambulance to help Patterson,
 who was “drooling.”
A male’s voice can be heard on the second 911 call saying, “Open the car.”

During the vicious assault, Patterson’s sneaker was ripped off his foot and thrown to 
the roof of 475 Flushing Ave. by the same person in the gang that shoved their thumb 
into his eye, according to trial testimony.
 Four co-defendants — Pinchas Braver, Aaron Hollender, Joseph Fried 
and Abraham Winkler — either had their cases dismissed or pleaded 
guilty to lesser charges on the indictment.
If Herskovic is convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Security camera footage shows the chase leading up to when Patterson was attacked.

June 4, 2016

Is Racial Hate Crime Coming Back to Staten Isl. NYC?

Dayshen McKenzie died of an asthma attack while running for his life.

Dayshen McKenzie died of an asthma attack while running for his life.


Is hate crime coming back to Staten Island, the fifth borough that makes up the City of NY? I sincerely hope not. Those were day in which I was ashamed to live here and cursed the time I decided to come back to my borough from FL. 
I remember posting and at one point being a target my self of the ignorance and hate which are the two prime ingredients to make someone go after another person because they are black, Mexican or Gay. I mentioned those specific groups because they were the ones that some hispanics and white kids went after not too long ago. After 2012 the wave of crimes seemed to go away. There was a lot of negative coverage from the press and community groups at the time which I think it gave some of the younger guys doing this a chance to grow up. I hope we are not having another crop of these idiots.

When we have hatred being spewed from the top political office seekers in the nation I am truly surprised we don’t have more of this.

The victim in this case was a 19 year old asthmatic black young man. There is no question that he was chased and that caused or was one of the causes to his death. The question would be why was he chased? I hope the police has not forgotten how to deal with this problem.  In the past the Police Dept is brought detectives from Manhattan to investigate. This is not surprising because you need experience investigators that can weed out non racists details and ask the right questions and go after all involved to get the details.
For that they need cooperation from witness’ so they can go after the people responsible.

The below report came from AP and originally posted by the local CBS affiliate in New York:

New York City police are investigating the death of a black teenager as a hate crime after he was reportedly chased by a mostly white group shouting racial slurs.

Dayshen McKenzie, 16, of Staten Island, who had asthma and a heart condition, died last Friday of an asthma attack after the chase, The Daily News reported. The official cause of death is pending.

A friend, 19-year-old Harry Smith, told the paper it all started when their group and another group got into a dispute over a girl. He claims the other group left, came back in three cars, and started chasing them. Smith said the suspects used “a lot of racial slurs” and one displayed a gun.

The group dispersed, with McKenzie running a quarter-mile away to Spartan Avenue, where he collapsed, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

Former police officer Diane Fatigati found the unconscious teen laying in her neighbor’s backyard and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

“I revived him once with the help of one of the teens and then he went out again, I revived him again,” Fatigati told 1010 WINS. “Police came in, told us to put our hands up, we did and they took over.”

EMS responded and rushed McKenzie to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“I pray for this kid every night,” Fatigati said, adding the boy’s mother reached out to her and invited her to McKenzie’s funeral. “She wants to give me a hug and I’m more than happy to oblige her.”

Fatigati told the Daily News the group chasing McKenzie and his friends consisted of young white males and one Hispanic male, and two of the cars had Pennsylvania plates.

In the initial investigation, police said there was no mention of racial slurs being shouted or someone waving a gun. They are now investigating the death as a hate crime, 1010 WINS reported.

McKenzie’s mother, Tisha Richardson, said she wants justice and that someone should be held accountable.

Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon issued a statement saying, “We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dayshen McKenzie during their time of grief. This office takes any allegations of a hate crime seriously. At this time, we have spoken with members of the NYPD who are investigating and we will continue to speak with them as this matter continues to be investigated.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” that more facts are needed.

“We cannot rush to judgment on this. We need to know more,” de Blasio said Friday morning. “We just don’t know enough yet to determine what happened here. I think it is important that people take a breath while the PD has a chance to really investigate and get right to the facts of this case.”

May 27, 2016

LA.Enacts Hate Crime Law for Cops[Violence vs.Cops All Time Low]

Image result for hate crimes cops

Crimes against police are the most severely punished in all 50 states and most countries but someone in Louisiana which is one of the states that have always had problems protecting the elderly, gays, Transexuals, blacks, bi racial minorities, have now made the police another minority.

 However this minority carry guns and more. It has the power of the government behind it plus the credibility of the courts and the most severe crimes from something as simple as resisting arrest and as serious as murder. On the other hand when someone is injured by the police the injured or family of disease face an almost unscalable mountain not just for justice but many times just for monetary damages to cover some of the expenses. Almost all of the cases never reach a jury. 

It is right and just that the penalties are high for crimes against law enforcement and if a legislature believes they should be higher then they should be. But by putting police or any other governmental institution in the same field as a gay man beaten to a pulp just because he is gay or a senior citizen because they are senior citizens and thus easy prey then the classification stops in helping deterrence of this crime. As you include any government agency,  be the Police, IRS or FBI you obscure the reason and the effectivity of hate crime law.
If one knows takes into account the result of this law and the fight against hate crime and equal rights persist, would a homophobic, racist bias law maker have introduced it to dilute the LGBT and others putting Police Squarely Vs. equal rights in Louisiana and others that will pursue the same route? Noh! Really? This law is not intended to fight crime against cops and police ing would be made more difficult with resentment from minorities.  How does that helps?

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

Yesterday late afternoon 
New York Times reported on this story:

Hate crime statutes originated as a response to bigotry, a special penalty for singling people out for abuse based on factors like race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation or, most recently, gender identity. On Thursday, Louisiana became the first state to add law enforcement officers to that list.

A bill signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday set off a debate over whether the measure was really needed to protect officers, or whether, as civil rights groups charged, it was an effort to dilute the basic meaning of hate crimes and to undermine the movement protesting the use of force by the police. A similar bill is pending in Congress.

The action comes at a time of fierce national debate over policing and race. High profile deaths of African- Americans in the hands of police — from Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Eric Garner in New York City — have prompted intense criticism of law enforcement. That criticism has come in street demonstrations and on social media, spawning the Black Lives Matter movement. Some law enforcement groups have charged that those protests have led to an increase in attacks on police officers, though there is little data to support that. Still, some supporters of law enforcement have adopted the slogan, “Blue Lives Matter.”

“I’ve read various accounts of people who I would say were employing a deliberate campaign to terrorize our officers,” said state Representative Lance Harris, the Republican author of the Louisiana measure. “I just wanted to give an extra level of protection to the people who protect us.”

Ernest L. Johnson, Sr., president of the Louisiana branch of the N.A.A.C.P., countered, saying, “Hate crimes law is based upon a history of discrimination against certain groups of people, and a bill like this just tries to water down that reality, because there is not a history of discrimination against police and firefighters.”

“The men and women who put their lives on the line every day, often under very dangerous circumstances are true heroes and they deserve every protection that we can give them,” said Mr. Edwards, a Democrat whose family ties to law enforcement run broad and deep. His brother, Daniel, is the sheriff in Tangipahoa Parish; another brother, Frank, is the police chief of Independence, a town in the parish; and their father, grandfather and great-great-grandfather were also sheriffs in Tangipahoa.

William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, an alliance of officers’ unions, lauded the bill. “I think it’s fair to say that officers are under attack nationwide, and this is a reasonable response,” he said. 

But violence against police officers stands near an all-time low, according to data kept by the F.B.I. and private groups. In recent years, homicides have been less than half as common as they were in the 1970s, when there were far fewer officers. In 2015, 41 officers on duty were “feloniously killed,” a category that excludes accidental deaths, the second-lowest figure in the last 60 years; the lowest was in 2014.

So far this year, 20 officers have been fatally shot while on duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is up from 16 at the same point last year, but it is a pace that would still make 2016 one of the least deadly years on record.

Mr. Harris, Mr. Johnson and others have cited two fatal incidents in particular. Last August, Darren H. Goforth, a Harris County sheriff’s deputy, was shot to death in Cypress, Tex., as he was getting gas for his patrol car; and in December 2014, the New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot to death as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn.

In each case, law enforcement officials attributed the killings to hatred of the police. The leader of a police union in New York blamed Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who had voiced sympathy for protests against police killings, for the shooting there. The Harris County sheriff, Ron Hickman, said anti-law-enforcement speech, which he linked to Black Lives Matter, had promoted the killling of officers; a statement he later said he regretted, though he said he still believed that Deputy Goforth had bee targeted.

The assailant in New York had made it clear that he intended to kill officers in retaliation for the killings of black men, but in the Texas case, officials have not said what evidence they have about a motive. Both gunmen had histories of severe mental illness.

“Perception matters, and low-frequency, high-impact events drive perception,” whether that means viral video of a shooting by an officer, or violence against an officer, said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a national group that researches and advises law enforcement. “Police officers believe that the odds have increased that they will be assaulted and ambushed and attacked, even though the numbers may not support that,” he said.

Louisiana, like many states, already had a law that increased penalties for crimes committed against emergency responders. The hate crimes statute, which is separate, provides that up to five more years can be added to the prison sentence of a person who is convicted of a felony if the court finds that the victim was chosen based on prejudice against certain groups.

Mr. Harris noted that among the criteria already in the law were “membership or service in, or employment with, an organization.” That meant, he said, that adding law enforcement officers and firefighters simply makes explicit what was already implied.

The Louisiana bill caused few ripples until it was close to becoming law; some of the groups now lined up in favor and against it were not aware of it until a few days ago. It passed Louisiana’s Republican-controlled House on a 92 to 0 vote. In the Republican-controlled Senate, it passed 33 to 3. Mr. Harris said he never expected it to draw much attention, but this week he said he had fielded calls on it from around the country.

Allison Padilla-Goodman, director of the Anti-Defamation League for the region that includes Louisiana, said hate crimes laws originated because crimes motivated by bias were often brushed off, but “there is zero confusion that a crime against a cop gets treated very seriously.”

She added, “Hate crimes are about an identity-based bias, an immutable characteristic that a person cannot change. Adding a professional category changes and confuses the meaning of that.”

Mr. Bueermann, a former police chief of Redlands, Calif., said that covering officers under hate crimes laws “can reinforce the notion that hatred of a group because of who they are has no place in our society, which is good,” but it should be coupled with holding officers to higher standards of conduct.

He cautioned that the law’s supporters had opened a new debate that could go in directions they might not like.

“At some point, someone might suggest that abortion physicians should also be protected,” he said, “that if you are hunted down because of your profession, whatever the profession, that should be a hate crime.”

July 23, 2015

Sentencing of man who sucker punched ‘gay looking’ man into tracks

Navy Yard Metro, gay news, Washington Blade
A gay man was attacked and pushed onto the tracks at Navy Yard Metro station in March. (Photo by dbking; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
A 20-year-old D.C. man accused of assaulting and robbing another man before pushing him onto the tracks at the Navy Yard Metro station in March because he believed the victim was gay was sentenced on July 15 to one year in jail by a D.C. Superior Court judge.

Judge Yvonne Williams handed down the sentence for Raheem S. Sills two months after Sills pled guilty on May 11 to a charge of attempted assault with a dangerous weapon as part of a plea bargain agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At the time of his arrest in April Metro Police charged Sills with assault with a dangerous weapon and robbery.
“We did consider a hate crime enhancement and intended to pursue it until the defendant quickly took responsibility for his actions and pled guilty,” William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told the Washington Blade.
“We brought the defendant’s motivation to the judge’s attention during the allocution at sentencing,” Miller said.

A police arrest affidavit says Sills, co-defendant Isiah Bogan, 20, and other unidentified males with them approached the victim on the platform of the Navy Yard Metro station about 10:50 p.m. on March 10. The affidavit says Sills allegedly slapped the victim on the back of the head as the victim tried to walk away from Sills and the others accompanying Sills.
According to the affidavit, Sills’ initial assault triggered an altercation between the victim, Sills and the others. During the altercation a suspect later identified as Sills allegedly took the victim’s cell phone and about $80 in cash before shoving the victim onto the tracks “at a time when trains were still operational,” the affidavit says.
During the July 15 sentencing hearing Assistant U.S. Attorney Dineen Baker, the prosecutor in the case, played a video obtained from Metro security cameras that showed the victim being pushed onto the tracks and immediately climbing back onto the platform.

The arrest affidavit says the attack continued as the victim fled to the upper level of the station. The Metro security video played in court at the sentencing shows Sills picking up a cone-shaped, four-foot-tall plastic “wet floor” sign and using it like a baseball bat to strike the victim repeatedly in the upper body.
During the sentencing hearing Baker pointed out that Sills told police at the time of his arrest that he targeted the victim because he “looked gay” and that he doesn’t like gay people or men who “act like women.” 

Baker said the victim was a waiter, and at the time of the incident had just gotten off work at one of the restaurants located near the Metro station and the nearby Washington Nationals baseball stadium. She asked the judge for a suggested sentence of 14 months in jail, saying Sills has shown remorse and has owned up to what he did by agreeing to plead guilty. David Richter, Sills’ attorney, told Williams his client was grappling with mental health issues. “It was a bunch of dumb young kids doing this,” Richter said. “He has taken responsibility for it.” 

Before handing down her sentence, Williams asked Sills, “Did you tell police you don’t like gay people?” Sills nodded his head and said something in a soft voice that couldn’t be heard by courtroom observers. “This boils down to, you can’t control your behavior, your anger,” Williams told him. “You sucker punched him in the back of his head when he was walking away. This is all for nothing, you hit him for nothing. Is all that worth it?” In addition to sentencing him to one year in jail Williams ordered that Sills be placed on supervised probation for two years upon his release from jail. 

Co-defendant Bogan, who also pled guilty to a charge of attempted assault with a dangerous weapon, was expected to be sentenced later this year. Sills’ sentencing on July 15 was the third sentencing so far this year in Superior Court of defendants charged in unrelated anti-gay assaults. It was the second known anti-gay case this year to have taken place in a Metro station. In an April 11 incident, a 23-year-old gay man suffered a concussion, broken jaw, and loosened teeth at the hands of four male suspects who attacked and beat him inside the Congress Heights Metro station. 

One of the attackers called him an anti-gay name, according to a report by Metro Transit Police. Metro has released photos of three suspects obtained from images from its security cameras, and a Metro spokesperson said two of the suspects have been identified but no arrests have been made in the case. On July 8, a Superior Court judge sentenced D.C. resident David Morris, 33, to eight years in prison for attacking and severely beating a male co-worker who he believed was making a “sexual overture toward him,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case as a hate crime. The sentencing came after Morris pled guilty to assault with intent to kill with a hate crime designation. 

On June 29, Judge Williams, the same judge who sentenced Raheem Sills in the most recent Metro assault case, sentenced twins Christina and Christopher Lucas, 22, to jail terms of six months and one year respectively for the attack and beating of a 29-year-old gay man in October 2013. Williams initially sentenced Christina Lucas to one year but, in a controversial move, said she changed her mind and lowered the sentence to six months 20 minutes later after prosecutors believe the official sentencing hearing ended. A Superior Court jury convicted the two in May of aggravated assault while armed and designated the offense as a hate crime. A police source said police and prosecutors were disappointed in the sentences, saying they were too lenient for the nature of the offense. 

 Lou Chibbaro Jr.

November 20, 2013

Case Dismissed for Man Accused of Beating Transgender Woman in NYC to Death

Islan Nettles
21-year-old Islan Nettles died after police say she was beaten by a group of men in Harlem.
 The case against a suspect arrested in connection with the fatal beating of a transgender woman in Manhattan has been dismissed.
The Daily News says 20-year-old Paris Wilson left Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday as prosecutors said they were not ready to move ahead in the case.
The victim, 21-year-old Islan Nettles, was attacked in Harlem in August. Police say she and a friend, another transgendered woman, ran into a group of men who made anti-gay remarks.
Vigil Held
A woman blows a kiss at an emotional vigil for the young transgender woman.
Police say one of the men punched her in the face. She lapsed into a coma and later died.
Wilson was arrested on assault charges, but upgraded charges were pending because the victim died. His lawyer says Wilson never laid a hand on the woman.
Prosecutors say the case remains active.


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