The horrifying video of three guys jumping another young man outside a Pittsburgh convenience store would appear to leave little room for debate about the attack's motive: He was beat up because he was presumed to be gay, a "faggot" as his attackers repeatedly put it.
According to WSBTV, the victim, a teenager, came forward and spoke with investigators about the incident, which he says took place on Saturday. His sister and mother told one of the station's reporters that he's been crying since it happened.
The Atlanta Police Department hasn't released any additional information about the investigation, as yet, but U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates announced last night that her office is getting involved.
Since the State of Georgia doesn't have a hate crimes law, the most the APD can do is classify it as a "bias crime" if their investigation concludes that the victim was, in fact, targeted based on his sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation), race, religion, etc. The APD tracks bias crimes, but the crimes don't carry any additional penalties. But, if a federal investigation concludes that the attack violated the federal hate-crimes statute, the perpetrators would face enhanced penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.
Yates' office released the following statement:
“Combating violent gang activity in our District, including the Pittsburgh community, is a priority of this office, as are any potential civil rights violations based on a person's sexual orientation. Along with the Atlanta Police Department, we are working to determine if the actions portrayed in the video violate federal law, including the hate crime statute. The actions depicted in the video are appalling and unacceptable in our community, and we encourage anyone with information about this video to contact the FBI or Atlanta Police.”
Check back for updates.
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