ATLANTA — Atlanta Police Chief George Turner on Thursday said police have identified suspects in a videotaped attack on a gay man leaving after he left a convenience store in a southwest Atlanta neighborhood.
“We’ve identified two of the three individuals … and are working to try to bring those individuals to justice,” Turner said at an emergency public safety meeting organized by residents from the area where the attack occurred.
The Feb. 4 attack on 20-year-old Brandon White was videotaped (below) and posted on the website WorldStarHipHop.com with the headline, “Dead Wrong: Man Wearing Skinny Jeans Gets Sucker Attacked & G’z Throw a Tire On Him for Being Gay.”
White, who is openly gay, came forward after the vidoe went viral on the internet — he said he didn’t report the incident to police because the video of his beating by gang members was “embarrassing and humiliating.”
But now he says he wants justice for the brutal attack he endured.
White’s attackers yelled anti-gay slurs during the beating, and now the FBI is working to determine whether it fits the federal definition of hate crime, according to Atlanta police.
Turner did not indicate Thursday evening whether the now-$15,000 reward for information on the case helped to garner information, but at a packed press conference on Wednesday, White said that he hopes by speaking out – to the police and the public — he can help other gay people stay safe.
“By them going public, I feel they wanted the attention,” White said.
He said the gang members apparently wanted to show how “brave” they were in a three-against-one attack. He also said he has seen the video of his attack and described it as “very, very brutal.”
“In my opinion, I’m the brave one,” he said to applause.
White said he did not know he was being videotaped when he was attacked leaving the convenience store on McDaniel Street in the Pittsburgh community. The store is a well-known haven for crime, according to White as well as other residents of the neighborhood. A push is being made to shut it down.
White said he heard them shouting “faggot” at him repeatedly but did not know any of his assailants.
The GA Voice is also reporting that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime.
Because Georgia is one of five states without a state hate crime law, the attackers would have to be prosecuted under the federal statute, the Byrd-Shepherd Hate Crimes Act. Some activists are urging lawmakers to see this attack as a need to call for Georgia to pass a state hate crimes law.