In two separate incidents over the Labor Day weekend, two men claim they were victims of hate crimes. In both cases, the men endured brutal anti-gay assaults.
Twenty-three-year-old Jared Olson of Denver, Colorado will need reconstructive surgery as a result of the attack. Meanwhile, Jared Fox, who was visiting his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, is recovering from being beaten by a group of 20 men.
Legally speaking, a hate crime involves force or the threat of force that is motivated by the victim's:
- Race or color,
- National origin or ancestry,
- Disability, or
- Sexual orientation.
In both cases here, the victims believe they were singled out because they were gay.
Ohio's hate crime law isn't a stand-alone offense. It falls under an "ethnic intimidation" provision that doesn't include sexual orientation. But a judge can take into account "hate" circumstances in sentencing an attack motivated by prejudice. This includes sexual orientation, according to the Ohio Bar Association.
Hate Crime Punishment
A simple assault in conjunction with a derogatory slur can be considered a hate crime. Punishments vary, but in general, more serious hate crimes result in more serious consequences.
The severity of the attacks in these two incidents is clear-cut. Olson will undergo reconstructive surgery in his face after suffering a broken nose, fractured face and missing teeth from the attack, according to the Huffington Post. Fox's injuries include a black eye, a ruptured right ear drum and some hearing loss, and severe bruising.
Reporting a Hate Crime
A spate of hate crimes rattled victims across the country over the long weekend, according to the Huffington Post. If you have first-hand information about an incident, you should report the hate crime to a local police or FBI department with the following information:
- Names of the victim(s), any witnesses, and the perpetrators (if known),
- A description of the events, and
- A summary of any physical injuries or physical damage.
If you are a victim, you may want to speak with an experienced attorney in your area.
- Denver police conduct hate-crime probe after gay man says he was beaten by man shouting gay slurs (Denver's KMGH-TV)
- Man Said He Was Attacked 'Because I Am Gay' (Cleveland's Fox-8 News)
- Was Wis. Sikh Temple Shooting a Hate Crime? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Can a Stupid Joke Be a Hate Crime? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Amish Beard Cutters Guilty of Hate Crimes (FindLaw's Blotter)