In this segment of episode 204 of NoMoreDownLow.TV, correspondent Mark Noble investigates the savage beating of Brendon White – an openly gay black man in Atlanta. The attack was caught on video and quickly went viral.
The 20-year old victim, Brandon White did not initially report it until the video hit the Web. At one point, reports surfaced that the attackers may have been on the Down Low and the attack was to keep Brandon silent. So, we ask “Is being on the down low the new so-called “Twinkie Defense”?
Atlanta Black Gay Hate Crime / Is the Down Low the New Twinkie Defense? – Episode 204 (part 1 of 4)
Brandon White: “I feel as though I should have justice. Those guys didn’t feel my pain. They didn’t care whether or not I was injured.”
Los Angeles attorney Joy Ganes: “If you notice it’s not just ‘I want to fight with someone’ – there was an element of hate and discrimination that was attached to it.”
It’s the video that went viral. The beat down of Brandon White, the 20-year old gay man viciously attacked in Atlanta. It was a crime he’d been mum about until the video hit the Web. In the end, three men were arrested and charged with what could be a hate crime.
Brandon White: “The scars run deeper than anybody will know…the physical pain, I can get over that… My thing is, who’s to say they won’t come after me again. Who’s to say this time they might even kill me? All because I want to speak up about the situation, I want to see something done about the situation. I don’t want other people to have to go through what I went through.”
Congressman John Lewis: “There is no room for violence against any human being.”
Among those to stand up and condemn the attack, Georgia Congressman John Lewis who spoke out at this rally, as seen here on YouTube.
Congressman John Lewis: “We cannot discriminate against someone because that person happened to be straight or gay.”
Earlier reports which were erroneous had linked the victim to the three men, as being on the down low and was perhaps the reason for the attack. One that holds no water in court as a defense.
Defense Attorney: “Mr. Maroni did not commit a hate crime.”
The attorney for one of the men arrested spoke with Atlanta station WSB declaring his client’s innocence:
“Mr. Maroni doesn’t have a hateful bone in his body. He is not a hate crime ridden person, he did not commit a hate crime, and that I am on his behalf extending an olive branch to the LGBT community.”
Los Angeles Attorney Joy Ganes says the stakes and penalty go beyond the normal charge for assault and battery when a hate crime charge is attached.
Attorney Ganes: “Hate crime legislation was brought forth to increase the time that you can serve. So, say for instance you get an assault and battery charge, depending on the state or severity of the crime…10 years…if you then add a hate crime element on top of it, it will add years to your sentence.”
And in this case, because there is video and a clear sign of hate, the case is stronger.
“If nobody’s videotaping it, it becomes a “He said/She said” situation and it becomes harder to show that there’s a heightened level of hate.”
Which was the case in Boston. A gay man told police he was beaten by three lesbians in a train station. His claim: The women hurled anti-gay slurs. The ladies claimed the victim started altercation by yelling racial slurs. The women have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Attorney Ganes: “He has to show that he was specifically targeted for being gay, and that’s not necessarily shown on your body unless they carve something into it.”
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