Activist who said he felt ‘duped’ by Brandon White now backs off his accusations

Gary Nichols, who publicly accused Brandon White of agitating his attackers by threatening to expose them for being gay, issued a lengthy explanation Sunday on Facebook for his actions.

White, 20, who was attacked by gang members on Feb. 4 in southwest Atlanta as they repeatedly called him “faggot,” has said he did not know his attackers. But this claim came under scrutiny by gay members of Change Atlanta as well as Nichols.

On CBS Atlanta, Devin Barrington Ward, Nichols and others accused White of lying about not knowing his attackers.  White’s attorney stated White did not know his attackers and called the actions of Change Atlanta as well as Nichols as “reckless”; she also wondered if the young men were seeking their 15 minutes of fame.

Ward, however, backtracked on his statements last week, issuing an apology, saying as a young organizer he made mistakes in how he went about handling what happened to White. This included meetings with a suspect’s mother and his defense attorney while it was filmed for TV.

Nichols, who told CBS Atlanta he felt “duped” by White because he said he knew that White was threatening to expose them for being on the “down low,” then took to Facebook to explain why he did what he did. Nichols’ explanation in full:

The Brandon White Case is legit. This was indeed a hate crime and Mr. White was targeted for being gay.

The climate in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Atlanta is that “faggots” are not welcome and this is a very serious concern. Just because Atlanta, Georgia has a huge homosexual population does not mean that they are not subjected to discrimination. My friends, in this last journey I have taken, I have opened my eyes. My apologies for seeming to be cold, but that tends to happen when I am searching for the truth.

About myself, I am a very devout Christian, a former federal employee (retired), and an Iraq War Veteran. My Iraq experience is what made me the human being that I am. Many people do not know that some of the first casualties during the War in Iraq were gay. That you’re allowed to die and serve your country, just not be gay, has always been an item that dug under my skin. The experience of watching people being ashamed of revealing themselves and then being subject to removal when we needed them to win the war was beyond me. Thank God this was overturned.

I started looking into this case to make sure this young man received medical care. As you can see, this case has many layers. For people looking in from the outside, please don’t judge my actions as irresponsible. A human being was in need and I went in without mental reservation. As I saw Mr. White on the ground fighting for his life, it ignited an anger inside of me to seek justice. More than that, Brandon White’s beating put me into contact with young gay black men in serious trouble. The greatest thing I did in this journey is that sat down and I listened. My greatest failure in this whole journey is that I failed to understand that some of these young people’s families don’t want them anymore. The Christian Fundamentalism coming out of me stunk. I attacked them for being inside or joining Gay Houses, and the use of terms of Gay Mother, or Gay Father as an insult; and the replacement of the traditional black family. Then the greatest thing happened. One of these families invited me to go out. They reminded me of the old days in the Army, when we had to become a family. They were people from all walks of life, with the common denominator of survival. I went around to several other Gay Houses in the Atlanta area, some not doing the right things and others taking care of one another. As I talked to some of these young people individually, I began to understand their plight. One young man told me he could never go home because his parents were ashamed of his sexuality. He came to Atlanta to seek refuge and a better life. He had to join a group or house to survive at any cost. After hearing similar stories, I began to wonder about Mr. White’s journey and how he survived.  How does a 20 year old survive on his own?

Most people who are not close to this investigation do not understand that in the beginning, there were two stories told. The Atlanta community genuinely wanted to help. There were LGBT community organizations, free lawyers, church organizations and just ordinary people like me ready to go.  There were two statements made at the time. The first was by Greg Smith of the HIV Prevention Intervention Project (HIPP) who stated words to the effect that Mr. White had some past relationships with some of the attackers and that Mr. White would explain those relationships tomorrow at the news conference. The next day, I met Mr. White face to face and stated to him that if he needed any type of security or needed somewhere to go, he could have these free of charge. I placed my card in his hand and he went into another room. I talked to the mental health care professional briefly and stated to her that this kid was not upbeat, but seemed melancholic. I even questioned why Mr. White was not in a shirt or tie and had a tongue ring in his mouth. So I jumped in the car, drove from near Turner Field to the Atlanta University Center, where I found a young man who was a part of my Fraternity, and told him, “Come with me—I need your shirt and tie for Brandon White. He is about to talk to the American people.” I wanted to make sure people saw him in the best light. Let me be clear! I made the point that Mr. White was a young gay black man in America and because of our prejudices toward something we don’t understand, he would be seen as the cause of his own beating. Just because he was gay, he deserved to be beaten. All of my offers and advice was rejected by the group surrounding him, as well as my assistance. I was just referred to the website to donate money. The HIPP organization did not want me or others there. And, then came the bombshells. After nearly 75 minutes of waiting, Mr. White steps into the room and sits down. I see that he has changed into a black shirt with designs and he still has a tongue ring in his mouth. What the fuck?  Young man, Gay or Not Gay, you’re about to speak to the American People.  At this moment, you’re in the Court of Public Opinion. He then steps to the microphone and these words come out. Remember that I just spoke with him 75 minutes prior and he seemed depressed and very shy. He did not even make eye contact. Then, 75 minutes later, after being sequestered in a room with HIPP membership, he was making short and concise statements, lifting his chin, making sure to keep eye contact. Where was his lawyer?  

When Mr. White took questions, one reporter asked, “Do you know any of the attackers?” Mr. White’s reply was “no.” I was thunderstruck. The entire room, from reporters to regular citizens, and even gay organizers, was in shock. Another question. “Do you know the man in the Orange Shirt?”  Mr. White’s reply was “no.”  Again, the room was thunderstruck. The collective unspoken question was, “What in the hell is going on?” This is why I looked into Mr. White’s background also. It mattered to me that he was not misleading the American people.  

This is not a last ditch effort to save face. I am a private American citizen who felt I was lied to and I had a right to investigate.  The other reason I looked a little harder at Mr. White’s story is because we live in Atlanta, Georgia.  Atlanta has to be the scam (financial) and opportunity (fake Hollywood) capital of America. Yes, Mr. White was beaten, but the press stunts afterwards would make anyone who lives here question what was going on.

I am not a part of Change Atlanta.  Facebook, you have handled that very well. I will say one thing, the CBS interview was a low blow and creative video editing. For myself, it was not a great moment; because I do not like to get on television or do the politics thing.

I do believe the young men accused have a right to due process and should hear every thing out there, for their defense. This led to the whole DL gay sex thing, and that Brandon White was allegedly a street prostitute. All of these unofficial reports have come from people who have never wanted to be identified or who have extensive criminal records. There is a common practice of men having sex with men in Atlanta, on the DL, or men considered straight, of trading sex for money. In this case, I have not found that any of these young men where gay or on the DL. Mr. White was never a prostitute. I have talked with people directly from his gay family who know him best. I ran into one individual who stated that he knew Mr. White, but this individual was addicted to drugs and just like most of America got his information off television. Also, he wanted twenty dollars to go on the record. I will admit I took this information to the defense attorney for one of the suspects, because there was a rumor from day 4 of this case that Mr. White and a drag queen were filming sexual acts between themselves and straight men. I have not found anything out there to support this. I just don’t think it is true. Brandon White is not the type of young man who would come into contact with these young men. These young men are proven violent criminals. In the Pittsburgh neighborhood, young gay men have to walk to the store in groups. If they are caught out there alone, they are used as target practice. So where do these one-on-one encounters take place? My only contact with Brandon White’s attorney is that of a phone call to her office. She was either never there, or she was avoiding me. I only wanted to suggest that since she is a proven LGBT attorney, there are other stories of young gay men being targeted by this group. She never called back.

Conspiracy theories that need to Die

Brandon’s Gay Brother did not have anything do with this, and his name was announced over the radio as the person being responsible. This was done by another gay man who has a Gay House rivalry with Brandon’s Gay Brother, and was kicked out. Additionally, this false witness gave testimony that Mr. White’s gay brother and another gay man were the ones who completely set up the entire event and collaborated with the Jack City Gang to target Brandon because they hate homosexuals. That is completely false. Both subjects have complete alibis for their whereabouts and my apologies for wasting the FBI and the Atlanta Police’s time with this false witness.     

My answers to the puzzling questions about the case and my theory (if it counts!)

Did Brandon White know his attackers? NO!

Who is the guy in the Orange Shirt?  
My guess is that he is a protected witness whose name cannot be disclosed at this time.  So that’s egg on my face about Brandon “absolutely lying” about not knowing this gentleman.  This is just a guess, so be gentle.

Do I think Brandon White is telling the complete truth?
Yes.  And if he is making any missteps, it’s probably because he is really scared.  We have to remember there is a violent street gang out there, and they have buddies.  So, people like me need to chill.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to hit my inbox up.  I will do my best to reply.  

Bye Atlanta, Georgia, I am going home.