Detroit man pleads guilty to hate crime

A Michigan man has become the second US citizen to be prosecuted for a homophobic attack under federal hate crimes laws passed by the Obama Administration in 2009

Detroit man pleads guilty to hate crime
30 August 2012

A Michigan man who attacked another man at a Detroit petrol station because he thought he was gay has plead guilty to a hate crime in what is only the second time that US Federal Government’s hate crimes law have been used in a gay hate case.

Everett Dwayne Avery, 36, punched another customer in the face in a convenience store located in a Detroit petrol station in March of 2011, fracturing his eye socket amongst other injuries.

His victim, Justin Alesna, had been standing behind him, waiting to buy cigarettes, when Avery decided that he was standing too close to him.

Avery had hurled a range of anti-gay slurs at Alesna before attacking him.

Avery will appear for sentencing on November 28. Under a plea bargain, Avery will spend between 12 to 18 months in prison and could be fined up to $20,000.

Avery was prosecuted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act – named for two prominent victims of hate crimes in the US.

James Byrd Jr was an African American man who was dragged to his death by white supremacists in Texas 1998, while gay university student Matthew Shepard was beaten and tortured and then left to die of exposure during the same year in Wyoming.

‘A hate crime is different than a simple assault because it is an attack on not just one individual victim, but an attack on everyone who shares a particular characteristic,’ said US Attorney Barbara McQuade.

‘By passing this statute, Congress made it clear that an attack based on a victim’s sexual orientation will not be tolerated in America.’

FBI Special Agent Robert Foley III, whose office investigated the case, said the verdict should send a message to the community that hate crimes against LGBT people are not acceptable.

The FBI is committed to protecting the community from those who are motivated by hate to victimize anyone as the result of their sexual orientation,’ Foley said.

‘Hate-fueled incidents have no place in a civilized society,’ said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

‘The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to prosecute acts of violence motivated by hate.’

Without a plea bargain, Avery could have faced up to 10 years in prison.



No thumbnail available

Canadians stop Lebanese pop star from singing anti-gay song

The Lebanese Canadian LGBT community have been assured that a visiting homophobic pop star will not perform a song which mocks LGBT Lebanese people’s struggle for acceptance
No thumbnail available

Gay couple claim Greek romantic meal almost killed them

Gay men celebrating wedding anniversary in Birmingham, England, claim restaurant worker hurled homophobic abuse and threatened to cut off their legs
No thumbnail available

Bollywood actor screens latest film for free for gay fans

Hrithik Roshan shows up at free screening for organising members of Queer Azaadi Mumbai
No thumbnail available

Pope says gay marriage is against human nature

Leader of the Roman Catholic church says same-sex marriage poses a threat to 'justice and peace' in his World Day of Peace speech
No thumbnail available

Asia prepares to celebrate LGBTI heroes at awards

Three companies and 10 individuals will be honored as Element magazine hosts inaugural Asian Pink Awards
No thumbnail available

How do you choose a surrogacy agency?

It pays to do your research when considering a fertility clinic and surrogacy agency; finding out about the experiences of those who have already undertaken the surrogacy journey is a good place to start
No thumbnail available

How can we stay safe after two murders in New York?

The deaths of Mark Carson and Islan Nettles illustrate how transgender and gay people of color are more likely to be victims of violence
No thumbnail available

U.S. State Dept. speaks out against anti-gay bill in St. Petersburg

Bill to prevent gay freedom of speech could spread throughout Russia
No thumbnail available

ErdoÄŸan shown to have rooted for LGBT rights

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan has been taped supporting LGBT rights in the past, but his ruling party is now against recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity
No thumbnail available

Elton John and David Furnish to have another baby

Elton John and husband David Furnish want another kid to join Zachary. Singer also speaks out against bullying for Lady Gaga joint project