The Atlanta Police Department issued a statement late Tuesday identifying the victim of a dramatic anti-gay beating posted online as Brandon White, age 20. The beating took place Feb. 4, and the FBI is working to determine whether it fits the federal definition of hate crime, according to APD.
An Atlanta HIV organization also issued a press release late Tuesday claiming White, who was brutally beaten in an attack posted online at WorldStarHipHop.com, would speak out at a press conference on Wednesday.
The complete statement from Atlanta police:
The Atlanta Police Department, working closely with the FBI, has made progress in the investigation of a videotaped beating of a man outside of a southwest Atlanta convenience store on McDaniel Street. Widespread dissemination of the video led a family member of the victim to contact police with information. Atlanta Police investigators were able to locate the victim, identified as Brandon White, 20, of Atlanta, who gave a statement to investigators about the Saturday, February 4th incident. FBI agents are also investigating the case to determine if it meets the criteria for prosecution under the federal hate crimes statute. The agencies are working together to identify the attackers. Anyone with information leading to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for this act are eligible for up to a $5,000 reward by calling Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477 with information that can be given anonymously.
The press conference will take place on Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. at 250 Georgia Ave. SE, Suite 316, according to the press release distributed by HIP, which stands for HIV Intervention Project.
The release directed questions to HIP Executive Director Greg Smith. The HIP voicemail directed calls to Smith to his cell phone, where the voicemail box is full. He could not immediately be reached via email for comment.
The press release contrasted the beating, which was perpetrated by black men against a black man they repeatedly called “faggot,” with the fact that today is National Black HIV Awareness Day.
“Today we were to mark our calendars for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national HIV/AIDS testing and treatment community mobilization initiative designed to encourage blacks across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated around HIV/AIDS, as it continues to devastate black communities,” the release noted.
“But instead we are in horror of the violent community act against an innocent young black same gender loving youth in the City of Atlanta, neighborhood community of Pittsburgh,” the HIP release stated.
After learning of the video posted on the internet, Atlanta police yesterday called on the victim and anyone with knowledge of the beating to come forward.
“We have engaged investigators and officers in Zone 3 – where the incident appears to have taken place – the Gangs Unit and the Homeland Security Unit, which investigates bias crimes,” APD spokesperson Carlos Campos said yesterday. “Our LGBT liaisons have also been made aware of the video. We encourage the victim to come forward to discuss the incident with investigators.”
The undated video was posted on WorldStarHipHop.com with the headline, “Dead Wrong: Man Wearing Skinny Jeans Gets Sucker Attacked & G’z Throw a Tire On Him for Being Gay.”
“Jack City, no faggots,” a man says at the start of the video. “Jack City” is an apparent reference to a street gang.
The operator of the camera was also heard shouting “No faggots in Jack City, man” at least four times during the beating. The apparent hate crime occurred outside a neighborhood grocery store on McDaniel Street, according to The Smoking Gun website.