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Anti-Gay Attacks Mar Labor Day Weekend: Reports

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.

Hate Crimes

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,
  • Gender,
  • Religion,
  • Age,
  • Disability, or
  • Sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation

In both cases here, the victims believe they were singled out because they were gay.

Colorado, one of the states with the most hate crimes per capita, expanded its hate crime law to include sexual orientation and transgender status, according to One Colorado.

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.

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