Mob That Viciously Beat Gay Couple in Philadelphia, Yelled Epithets Won’t Be Charged With Hate Crime
Last week’s mob beating of a gay couple in Philadelphia made headline news after Twitter sleuths were able to track down the suspects and have them arrested. Now, however, the District Attorney’s Office has announced that the suspects will not be charged with a hate crime because the state’s hate crime laws don’t protect gay residents.
Two men were walking near Chancellor Street when a group of drunk men (pictured above) accosted them.
One man asked, “Is this your f***ing boyfriend?”
When they responded “yes,” the group of men reportedly punched and kicked them repeatedly in the head and body.
Witnesses say the attackers hurled homophobic slurs as they beat them.
One of the victims was treated at a hospital and released. The second victim had to undergo multiple surgeries because both of his cheekbones were shattered and his jaw was fractured in the attack.
Police questioned four people and the DA plans to file charges soon, though they won’t be hate crime charges.
NBC Philadelphia reports that, “Pennsylvania’s current hate crime law states: In order for ethnic intimidation to be charged the malicious intention toward the religion, ethnicity, or race of the victim must be the motive for the commission of the underlying crime.”
“Therefore we would not be able to charge with ethnic intimidation in this case,” said Tasha Jameson, a spokesperson for the DA’s office.
Since the attack, thousands of residents have signed a Change.org petition to call for lawmakers to include LGBT residents in the hate crime law.
Rep. Brian Sims says he plans to introduce legislation to include LGBT protections in January.
“Given the history of both social and legal discrimination that a person’s sexual orientation seems to me to be a very plausible inclusion in the class of people protected by hate crime laws,” said Stephen Morse, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.