After a spate of hate crimes last year against members of the gay community, a new video has emerged showing an Atlanta street gang brutally beating a man because they believed he was gay.
The Atlanta Police Department did not respond immediately to a request for comment from The Post. A spokesman for the department told the Smoking Gun, however, which first unearthed the video, that the clip had been forwarded to the department’s gang division that investigates bias crimes. “We are working ... to identify the victim and perpetrators,” the spokeswoman said.
This Atlanta man is not alone. A report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released in July found that hate crimes against gay and transgender people were on the rise, and not just in numbers of victims but also in the severity of the crimes.
The coalition found a 13 percent rise in LGBT hate crimes in 2010 from the previous year, and a 23 percent rise in slayings of LGBT people. The group also found that police were less likely to classify hate violence against LGBT people of color as hate crimes.
And the Southern Law Center in 2010 found that gays remain the minority most targeted by hate crimes.
Younger members of LBGT community have also faced a rise in bullying in 2011, with prominent cases like those of Jamey Rodemeyer, a bullied bisexual teen who killed himself, an unidentified Ohio high school student whose brutal attack was caught on camera and Eric James Borges, a gay teen who killed himself after he said he was physically assaulted by his peers.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the Anti-Violence Project, which runs the NCAVP, calls the video an “incredibly disturbing representation of the physical violence that LGBT people face every day in this country.”
Stapel says that while it’s hard to tell whether hate crimes are rising or people are simply reporting them more, videos like this one are a wake-up call for the hate crimes continuing to occur in the LGBT community.
“This man was just walking out of a corner store, and he was attacked,” says Stapel, noting that the man may or may not have been gay. “It’s a really tragic and clear reminder of what the reality is like for some in the LGBT community, and how senseless and incomprehensible it is that someone would attack someone just because they thought they were gay.”