Supporters of a young man who was charged over a stabbing incident at a New Years Eve party say he was defending himself against a homophobic attack.
Luke Patrick O’Donovan, 19, who was also stabbed during the incident, was charged after Atlanta Police responded to a 3am 911 call from a motorist who was transporting two of the stabbed men to hospital.
However several people who were at the party contacted East Atlanta Patch and said that O’Donovan was defending himself against men who had harassed him with homophobic slurs after they saw him dancing and kissing other men at the party.
‘Luke did not go to the party intending to initiate conflict with anyone,’ says an online statement by supporters.
‘Luke was attacked by several people at one time and retaliated in self-defense in an attempt to escape the attack. Several witnesses have reported watching between 5 and 12 men mobbing up on Luke and stomping on his head and body with the intent to kill him. The people who were stabbed during the conflict were not attempting to end the fight with Luke. The altercation was never limited to Luke and one other person, but involved several people mobbing up on him.’
However others who say they were at the party claim that O’Donovan overreacted to a homophobic comment that was intended as a joke and that others only got involved to disarm him when the knife was produced.
Atlanta Police have called on anyone who has evidence that O’Donovan was defending himself to come forward.
‘We have received information that the incident was possibly preceded by a gay slur directed towards the arrestee,’ a police spokesman told East Atlanta Patch on Wednesday.
‘We are not sure if the information is credible, but are investigating the incident and will pursue this and any other leads … It will be up to the judicial system to determine if there were any mitigating factors prior to the stabbings.
‘Investigators are in the preliminary stages of investigation, and our LGBT liaisons have also been alerted to the incident.’
However the supporters who posted the online statement are refusing to cooperate with police because they do not believe his attackers should go to prison.
‘We do not support the prison industrial complex, talking to the police, or snitching,’ the supporters wrote.
‘We do not believe that the other side of the fight should be imprisoned, but rather that the incident should be resolved outside of the institutions of the State.’
As yet none of the other men involved in the incident has been charged by Atlanta Police.