Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Brutal beating caught on tape; gay teen says assault was a hate crime

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Joshua Esskew

Authorities in Rock Hill, S.C., are are looking for suspects who assaulted a gay teen outside a Rock Hill convenience store last weekend in what the victim describes as a hate crime.

Joshua Esskew, 19, who is gay, said he was walking into the store when a man shouted a gay slur at home. When Esskew walked away, that man hit him with a beer bottle in the back of the head.

Esskew tried to fight back, but more men — as many as eight — came running from different directions and beat him.

“Some ran from the gas pumps, some ran from the laundry mats, some were just standing over there and just joined,” Esskew said. “What instigated this and what started this was my sexuality, me just being me.”

Police found Esskew on the ground bleeding from the top of his head and mouth, and his eye and lips were swollen. The York County Sheriff’s Office has released this surveillance video of the attack.

South Carolina has no “hate crime” laws, but the federal government does. Deputies said they have to catch the suspects and investigate further before escalating it to the federal level.

Update, 4/18/11: The FBI has confirmed it is investigating the attack on Joshua Esskew. Story here.

Archives: , , , , , ,

Filed under: South Carolina

25 more reader comments:

  1. Not cool

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:21pm
  2. They all had to be black.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:23pm
  3. IT JUST SAD GOD PEOPLE RLLY NEED 2 GROW UP THERE EVEN ATTACKIN MINORS ASSHOLES

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:27pm
  4. It’s great that there are federal hate crimes laws, but it doesn’t help if the states get to choose whether or not to “escalate” it to that level. That’s pretty much giving them the option to ignore the laws.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:39pm
  5. That’s sad, man what a f’d up world we live in.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:39pm
  6. Wtf? That’s soo fucker up >__< fuckin jackass's

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:42pm
  7. Fucked*

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:42pm
  8. ARE YOU FRIGGIN SERIOUS?!?!?! The nerve of these ppl!

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:43pm
  9. Yeah you’re all big motherfucking men, beating on one defenseless kid you fucking animals!

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:46pm
  10. Thatz Some F***D Up S***.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:48pm
  11. How do you think I feel? I live in Rock Hill. This is an eye opener. I have never had an adverse reaction or felt hate like this and I have always lived out and proud. Then something like this happens in my backyard. Very sad and very frightening.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:53pm
  12. This just makes my blood boil. What the HELL is wrong with some people????

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:53pm
  13. @ Heriberto Rodriguez Jr. Racists and homophobes are equal in my book. One is no better than the other. Both are equally wrong. Hate is hate and it is never okay to hate.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 3:56pm
  14. No one said this had anything to do with the fact that the guy was white or if the group of people were black. It was the fact that they thought or knew he was gay. Let’s not drag race into this.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 4:02pm
  15. @Ann Johnson, while you are correct, racism is no different a hate crime, than homophobic outburst and beatings, however, sadly, Heriberto points out a valid stereotype that effortlessly was proven true. He may not have intended it the way I feel it should be perceived, yet, the fact remains, he noted they “had” to be black… as if stating this was, unfortunately, not surprising. “Had” emphasises a wish that it would have been socially acceptable that maybe our society is improving, and hate is evolving to lesser values, IF the statement didn’t revolve around the true said words. This only goes to show that a hate crime is a hate crime is a hate crime. Our words are just as misleading as the stereotypes that dare to be proven over and over again. As a gay male, I feel disgusted and horrified but that doesn’t take away from the aggressors actions, or Heriberto’s racist words, or, more than likely, the many more horror stories that will probably be broadcasted on tonights 10:00 news, that in one way or another, will be related to the Humans inevitable flaws of racism, sexism, culture, age, sexual preference, disabilities, national origin, the list goes on and on… there is no black and white in these areas, but opening up to change our ways in truth, in order to change that truth, is what we need. Its time to grow up America, world, the bigger picture is beautiful, but we can’t see the forest for all the trees in the way.

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 5:26pm
  16. um…guys…u might have gotten away with this years ago, but nowadays…its as bad as a white guy beating on a black guy because hes black

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 6:31pm
  17. NO VIOLENCE…RESPECT!!!

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 6:34pm
  18. I’m just waitin for when us ‘fags’ start kickin the shit out of them homophobic mothafuckers…. rebellion!!!! Haha

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 6:35pm
  19. Jk

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 6:36pm
  20. How insecure these “men” must be….

    Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 7:21pm
  21. This is just horrible. I just can’t stop thinking “Why?” I realize that comes across as naïve, but it just boggles my mind that this kind of thing still happens. People don’t choose to be gay anymore than they choose what color skin they have. Someday, I hope these monsters that perpetrated this horrible act will realize that.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 12:22pm
  22. This is not okay, especially since things like this happen every single day.
    Also, not to be a dick or anything but “he was walking into the store when a man shouted a gay slur at home.” Oh, the guy shouted a gay slur at HOME? Really? Please, copy editors, please. That error almost made me stop reading, to be honest. It’s so blatant…

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 1:26pm
  23. Well, I suppose that made them feel like real tough men. 8 on 1 – yeah, that’s how real men fight.

    Wonder how many of those are on the down low, needing to prove their masculinity in case someone might find out.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 2:17pm
  24. i find it very hard to believe that these men (apparently all african american) beat this kid for being gay. from my own experience he more then likely had pissed these guys off for something (probably drugs) and then got what was coming to him…and yes i am gay too…T

    Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 11:37am
  25. @mark – just because you find it hard to believe doesn’t make it not true. I don’t know your age, or where you live /were brought up, but I feel pretty confident in saying that not many people – especially gay people – would agree with your assertion here. I have been witness to several incidents just like this one, and the motivation behind the violence was without question based on homophobia. Frankly, I find your eagerness to throw this kid “under the bus” both disappointing and disturbing. Oh – and I’ve spent time in South Carolina, and I can report that tolerance is not a prevalent attitude there.

    Posted on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 5:46am