Target: Corinth, Mississippi District Attorney Trent Kelly
Goal: Charge man who allegedly savagely beat gay man while screaming homophobic slurs with a hate crime.
A young gay man says he endured a savage beating from a homophobic individual who stomped on his face several times while allegedly screaming a homophobic slur at him. The victim, Devin Norman, asked the police to charge his attacker with a hate crime in addiction to aggravated assault charges, yet the District Attorney of the Mississippi city declined, citing a lack of evidence.
If the accusations are true, this is a clear hate crime. Even if there’s not enough evidence to convict the attacker of a hate crime, at the very least, the DA needs to make an effort to investigate the matter and look into hate crime charges. This is especially important considering the conservative state’s poor track record in terms of LGBTQ rights and protecting individuals like Devin from hateful violence.
The entire point of hate crime laws is to show that bigotry is unacceptable, and violence based on bigotry will be severely punished. If District Attorneys are going to decline to pursue hate crime charges without even bothering to look into it, then hate crime laws are rendered pointless and vulnerable individuals like LGBTQ persons are left without the protections they clearly need in a country still poisoned with widespread homophobia and transphobia.
The DA has now said that he will investigate to see if federal hate crime charges can be pursued. By signing this petition, you’ll demand that the county’s District Attorney charge the man who brutally attacked an innocent gay person with a hate crime. Any time a gay person is attacked by a straight person, it should be assumed that a hate crime is at least possible. Ignoring this reality only works in defense of homophobia as bigots are let off without appropriate punishment.
Dear District Attorney Kelly,
Recently, Devin Norman was brutally beaten by a man who allegedly targeted him for his sexuality, screaming a homophobic slur while doing so. Because of the nature of the crime, Norman has requested that you charge his attacker with a hate crime in addition to the aggravated assault charges.
I understand that you initially refused to do so and are now only starting an investigation into whether there’s evidence to bring hate crime charges against the accused because of outside pressure. This is unacceptable in an especially homophobic part of a country that’s already still widely hostile to the LGBTQ population. A jury should at least be able to consider hate crime charges against the person who attacked a gay man.
I implore you to include a hate crime charge in addition to the assault charges. After everything the LGBTQ community and Devin Norman have endured, they at least deserve this demonstration of support and refusal to tolerate bigotry.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: אנדר-ויק via Wikimedia Commons