A gay man that was beaten unconscious in a San Diego alley on Halloween believes that the attack was a hate crime. KTLA News reports that San Diego police officers are still trying to find suspects that are linked to the case.
The victim, Jacob Harshbarger, is openly gay and was reportedly wearing a graphic shirt that clearly identified him as a gay man. He says that he was attacked by at least three men and two women in a white car. The victim said that he clearly remembers being called a "faggot" and a "homo" when being attacked.
Doctors stated that Jacob Harshbarger suffered a concussion and bruised the back of his eye from the attack. Authorities are now asking that people with information about the attack contact the San Diego Police Department Western Division at 619-692-4800.
A crime motivated by the victim's sexual orientation has been long considered a hate crime in the state of California. However, violent crimes because of a person's sexual orientation have only been considered a hate crime at the federal level since last year. FindLaw's Blotter Blog reported that President Barack Obama signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act last year, which expanded the definition of hate crimes to include people who are targeted based on their sexual orientation, gender, or disability. While the attack against Jacob Harshbarger in San Diego was sad for many community members, the beating sheds light on the injustice and intolerance against homosexuals in the Southern California community. Perhaps such an attack can prompt positive action.
For more general information on hate crimes, please visit our Related Resources links.
Hate Crime Legislation Sparks Debate Around The Nation (FindLaw's Los Angeles Criminal Law BLog)
Hate Crime: The Violence of Intolerance (FindLaw)