The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has released their annual report on hate crimes for 2018, which found that the...
Two young men convicted in Fulton Superior Court in the anti-gay beating of Brandon White last year pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges today in U.S. District Court. This case is the first in Georgia to charge a violation of the sexual orientation section of the federal hate crimes law.
Christopher Cain and Dorian Moragne, both of Atlanta, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester.
“Violence against another person because of his or her sexual orientation has no place in our civilized society,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in a prepared statement. “The citizens of this district should know that we are committed to aggressively prosecuting hate crimes.”
A Fulton County grand jury has indicted four men in the beating of openly gay Brandon White, whose videotaped attack was uploaded to the internet and went viral, rallying efforts to pass a hate crimes law in Georgia.
The fourth suspect, Javaris Bradford, 24, has not yet been arrested by the Atlanta Police Department, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jarvis has a record including being charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault.
Many in Atlanta's LGBT community are criticizing Change Atlanta on Facebook and various websites for the group’s apparent about-face in its support of Brandon White, the young gay man who was beaten in a filmed attack that went viral on the internet.
Now one of the leaders of the fledgling group says he has “learned his lesson” in how he dealt with the incident, which he acknowledges included questioning whether White was lying about knowing the attackers, “cuddling up” with one of the suspect's defense attorneys on TV and not understanding that many in the LGBT community have been victims of anti-gay violence.
"Yes, we have gotten some flack. And I'm glad I'm learning this lesson at 21 rather and not at 41,” Devin Barrington-Ward said told the GA Voice in an interview Feb. 28. “My youth and immaturity played into this. I will always reflect back on this when I'm 60 or 70.”
Chris Staples says he is still trying to wrap his head around the idea that someone would try to kill him.
The gay Carrollton man had his home vandalized and then burned down; he was asleep at home when the fire began and barely escaped.
“I feel like I’m sort of in a cave, still in shock,” Staples told the GA Voice. “I haven’t shed a tear, haven’t gotten mad.”
Staples, 43, was inside his small home in Carroll County on Sunday, Jan. 23, when he said a rock with an anti-gay note attached was thrown through his window. Hours later, Staples said he woke up to find his home engulfed in flames. Carroll County is some 50 miles west of Atlanta.
Wanda Morris said she’s still “in shock” that someone allegedly tried to burn her son’s house down with him inside simply because he is gay.
“We’ve lived here 31 years and never had a cross word with anyone,” she told the GA Voice today.
Christopher Staples, 43, was inside his small home in Carroll County on Sunday when he said a rock with an anti-gay note attached was thrown through his window. Hours later, Staples said he woke up to find his home engulfed in flames. Carroll County is some 50 miles west of Atlanta.
The FBI is assisting the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department and there is discussion the alleged crime may be classified as a hate crime.
The FBI is helping to investigate a fire at the home of a gay Carroll County man to determine if the suspected arson is a hate crime.
If federal prosecutors decide the alleged attack on Christopher Staples fits the criteria, it would likely be the first case in Georgia charged under the new Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, according to Atlanta FBI spokesperson Stephen Emmett.
"The FBI is in a supportive role in this investigation, but the investigation itself remains with Carroll County authorities," Emmett told the GA Voice.
Asked what specifically the FBI is doing in the case, "I won't elaborate other than initial crime scene assessment and any additional lab submittals that Carroll County deems necessary — those types of matters," Emmett said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that gay people, or those who are perceived to be gay, are far more likely to be the target of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in America.
According to a SPLC press release, gay people are twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews and African Americans, four times more likely to be violently attacked than Muslims and 14 times more than Latinos.
"As Americans become more accepting of homosexuals, the most extreme elements of the anti-gay movement are digging in their heels and continuing to defame gays and lesbians with falsehoods that grow more incendiary by the day," said Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report. "The leaders of this movement may deny it, but it seems clear that their demonization of homosexuals plays a role in fomenting the violence, hatred and bullying we're seeing."