Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

FBI investigating possible ‘hate crime’ attack on South Carolina gay teen

Monday, April 18, 2011

Joshua Esskew

The FBI on Monday confirmed it is investigating the brutal attack on a South Carolina gay teen who was assaulted outside a convenience store in Rock Hill on April 9.

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

The federal involvement in the probe of the potential hate crime comes as local law enforcement continues to investigate the attack as an assault.

“We’re all over it,” said special agent Earl Burns, a spokesman for the Columbia office of the FBI. “Matters of this sort — hate, civil rights — are one of our highest priorities in the bureau.”

“What we’re trying to do now is determine the extent of FBI involvement.”

Esskew said as many as eight men came running from different directions and beat him, in what he described as a “hate crime.”

South Carolina has no “hate crime” laws, but the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, enacted in 2009, gives federal authorities power to investigate allegations of crimes against gays that could potentially be civil rights violations.

Archives: , , , , , , ,

Filed under: South Carolina

3 more reader comments:

  1. So just because the dude is gay makes the crime more severe? I’m not a homosexual but I’ve been called a faggot before. Seems unfair.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 11:21pm
  2. According to Federal law, yes. If you’re beaten up on the street, it’s assault. If you’re beaten up by people who are at the same time calling out your race, gender, religion, orientation, then the crime takes on the characteristics of racial/ethnic/mob intimidation. The law assumes that such an assault may be a precursor to more widespread intimidation – a potential precursor to something like Bosnia in the 1990s or the U.S. South in most of the 19th or 20th centuries.

    If you beat a kid up as an act of violence, it’s a state crime. If you beat a kid up to try and drive the blacks/Jews/Catholics/gays out of town, it’s a Federal crime. Simple distinction, and one that’s both rational and fair.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 5:36am
  3. Ben, even if you are straight, if someone came running up to you calling you a “f@ggot” and then beat you down, THAT would be a hate crime. Doesnt matter if the victim is gay OR NOT, what matters is the MOTIVATION of the ATTACKER.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 7:29pm