I recently met with a couple of young men who were injured in a fracas in a parking lot shared by a local nightclub popular in the gay community and a bar popular with a local college crowd. The injuries sustained by some of the young men were serious enough to require medical attention.
Not every act of violence against a gay person is a hate crime, but what happened outside the Complex Night Club had the elements: unprovoked confrontation, anti-gay slurs, a speedy exit before authorities arrived. St. Louis police and federal authorities will investigate the incident as a hate crime — and they are asking the public for information about perpetrators via CrimeStoppers.
Here’s what I told the men and their friends:
We want everyone to be able to go anywhere, safely.
St. Louis is a gay-friendly city. We are proud of our diversity. We will not, as a community, tolerate violence — especially, violence fueled by hate. I have gay siblings; I particularly deplore these acts of violence.
And, finally, I strongly endorse the efforts of members of the US Attorney’s Hate Crimes Task Force and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney to use the resources of their offices to prosecute hate crimes in St. Louis and in the region — and to aid victims of such crimes.
I plan to follow the investigation of this matter, and I will let you know what happens.