Saturday, April 16, 2011

SC gay man attacked by mob

This is insane. An attack of a young gay man, Joshua Esskew, on video. Luckily the young man wasn't seriously hurt but if anyone knows anything, please call the police. The following footage is ugly but it could have been worse.

Right now there are no arrests and we don't know why the situation went down. But Esskew is sure that he was attacked because of his sexual orientation:

Joshua Esskew said he stopped at the Gas Spot on South Cherry Road last Saturday. The 19-year-old said one second he heard a gay slur and the next second he was almost unconscious.

"I responded with, 'What was that you said?' But nothing offensive toward them," Esskew said, describing the encounter.

Surveillance video from the store shows a man hitting Esskew over the head with a beer bottle.

"Three came up from the gas pumps. Two came up toward the Laundromat. There were three or four already standing there. They all just came," Esskew said.

Investigators say a mob rushed to join in the attack just because they could.

I want to send a shout out of support to Esskew. Don't be afraid of who you are and don't ever shrink from defending yourself. At the same time, pepper spray or mace isn't a bad idea.

It's not a joke. I've had to carry some myself and I would not be ashamed if I had to use it to defend myself.

There are times when you should act like King or Gandhi and there are times when you should "get to slicing." And there is no shame in knowing AND acting on the difference.

Lastly even if this situation did not turn out to be an attack on Esskew because of his sexual orientation, what the @!*& does it say about a group of people who would pile on one person simply because they can?


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Anonymous said...

In the video they say that there won't be hate crimes charges because it's South Carolina. But isn't the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. hate crime law federal? Was the guy in the video wrong or does the law not cover the whole country?

Scott Amundsen said...

All I can say is that if they ever DO catch any of these cowards I hope they throw the book at them.

Matt Algren said...

Anon, yes the hate crime law applies in all states and municipalities. The only thing I can figure is that the hate crime enhancement decision must need to come from federal authorities, not local ones.

Mykelb said...

This is what the DOJ testified before Congress when the bill was up for enactment: "Although State, local, and tribal governments will continue to take the lead in anti-hate crime enforcement efforts, there are occasions when the Federal government may be in a better position to investigate and prosecute a particular hate crime. For example, Federal resources may be better suited to investigate interstate hate crimes, in which the same defendant or group of defendants commit related hate crimes in multiple jurisdictions. There may also be times when a State, local, or tribal jurisdiction expressly requests that the Federal government assume jurisdiction. Finally, there may be rare circumstances in which State, local, or tribal officials are unable or unwilling to bring appropriate criminal charges, or when their prosecutions fail to adequately serve the interests of justice."

So it follows that the Feds will only take over when there is a problem with investigation or prosecution or the crime was so heinous and local LE was so inept that the Feds would take over the investigation and prosecution.