News (USA)

Cleveland teen will not face hate crime charge in attack on gay bar patron

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A 16-year-old male teen arrested Tuesday in connection with an attack on a gay man outside a popular Cleveland gay bar over the Labor Day weekend will not face a hate crime charge.

City prosecutors on Wednesday filed one complaint of suspected robbery against the juvenile for the Sept. 1 assault and robbery of Jared Fox.

Jared Fox
Jared Fox

Fox, 26, said he was headed from his parked car to Cocktails bar when a group of approximately 20 men surrounded him on the sidewalk, called him anti-gay slurs, beat him up, and stole his wallet and cell phone, according to a police report filed in the incident.

“They said what’s in your pockets and I said, I got no money I’m broke, and they said, ‘oh so you’re one of those broke faggots?’ And then they just started swinging,” said Fox.

The attack was caught on the bar’s surveillance cameras.

But because Ohio’s hate crime crime law does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity, the suspect will not face escalated charges.

The state’s 1987 statute entitled “Ethnic Intimidation” only lists crimes that are committed against someone based on the victim’s race, color, religion or national origin will receive the enhanced bias charge.

But Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said that when sentencing offenders, one of the factors judges have to consider is “whether the offender was motivated by prejudice based on race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.”

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Prosecutors could argue that because a person targeted a member of the LGBT community, the convicted deserves a harsher sentence.

Tuesday’s arrest was the second involving incidents police are investigating at the bar.

Last week, police arrested a 13-year-old boy shortly after a Sept. 6 incident in which a small group of young teenagers threw rocks and directed anti-gay slurs at customers on the bar’s patio.

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