Brandon White, 20, was brutally beaten Feb. 4. His assailants posted video of the attack online, which went viral, galvanizing both LGBT activists and neighbors in the Pittsburgh community who spoke out against violence and crime.
The video shows young men who identify themselves as part of the “Jack City” gang ambushing White, beating him and calling him “faggot” as he walks out of the McDaniel Street store.
In an in-depth interview with GA Voice, White described how his emotions ranged from anger to embarrassment after the attack.
“I wasn’t even in there for more than two minutes. I was calling my grandma and as the phone was ringing someone just hit me on the side of my head and from there came the kicks, the punches and the screams. I didn’t know they threw a tire until I saw the video,” he said. “And just like that they took off running. I walked home, packed up a few things and left.”
White said as he walked to his house and was packing, he was overcome with anger at the three gang members who blindsided him.
“I was pissed,” he said. “I was ready to fight. I wanted to go home, change clothes and go back. I wasn’t mad about the situation, but pissed because they didn’t want to give me a fair fight. If they gave me a one-on-one fight, it would have been different ― you have to give that person a chance to protect themselves and that’s something they didn’t give me.”
White said at first he wasn’t going to tell anyone what happened, he was going to “let it blow over.” But then Monday came and he got calls from his cousins telling him he was all over the TV and the internet.
“That’s when the embarrassment kicked in,” he said. “I cried that day. I don’t cry for nobody. I cried because there were so many emotions. I was pissed, there was anger, there was embarrassment, there was sadness.”
A rally last Saturday across the street from the store drew a diverse crowd who proclaimed solidarity with White and spoke out against the violence plaguing the neighborhood. State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), who is openly gay, said at the rally he plans to introduce a hate crime bill in the Georgia General Assembly.