Target: Mesquite, Texas Police Department
Goal: Report the brutal beating of a lesbian mother as a hate crime
27-year-old Sondra Scarber and her partner, Hillary Causey, were at the park with their four-year-old Son, Jaxon, when older boys began to bully Jaxon. After Sondra Scarber told the older boys to stop their bullying, the children’s father approached Scarber and, upon realizing that Scarber was a lesbian woman and not a man, he became angry and attacked Sondra. Sondra’s partner said, “When he walked up thinking it was father and mom with the kid, he wasn’t as angry, but then when he figured out it was a female, he got like super pissed, and I don’t know why.”
The man proceeded to beat Scarber, dislocating her jaw and leaving it an inch-and-a-half out of alignment. As he assaulted Scarber, the suspect taunted her for “thinking [she was] a man,” according to Scarber and Causey. Sondra Scarber was beaten to the point of unconsciousness while her attacker called her homophobic slurs.
Now, Sondra is in the hospital recovering from the attack, but the police have not reported the attack as a hate crime. According to reports, the police have failed to classify the attack as a hate crime because the conflict between the children was the motive for the violence. The Mesquite Police Department has denied that it refuses to consider that this might be a hate crime. Lt. Bill Hedgpeth said, “We look at everything and if that’s a motive, that’s a motive.” The police department has also said that it is up to the DA to decide whether or not to prosecute the case as a hate crime.
While it is the DA’s call whether or not to prosecute an attack as a hate crime, it is up to the police department to report the possible bias to the FBI under the federal Hate Crime Statistics Act. Sign this petition to tell the police to report Sondra Scarber’s attack as a hate crime.
Dear Mesquite Police Department,
I am writing to you about the recent case involving the assault of Sondra Scarber. I know that you are currently conducting an investigation and considering anti-gay bias as a possible motivation behind the beating. Although you are correct that it is the DA’s decision whether or not to prosecute the case as a hate crime, the responsibility of reporting bias indicative of a hate crime lies with the police department. Under the federal Hate Crime Statistics Act, it is up to the police to report evidence of hate crimes when these crimes occur.
I have reason to believe Scarber’s assault constitutes a hate crime. Although the conflict between the children ostensibly did spur the father of the other children to confront Scarber, the fact that he was yelling words like “dyke” and commenting on her “thinking [she was] a man” suggests a strong homophobic component to the beating. Please consider this evidence and report the crime to the FBI as motivated by hate.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Public domain