Atlanta Gang Hate Crime Caught on Video, Victim Speaks Out
A video of an Atlanta gang attacking a 20-year-old gay man went viral this week. Members of the gang were filmed viciously beating the victim as he walked out of a grocery store while someone yelled, "No faggots in Jack City." "Jack City" refers to the gang's name, "Pittsburgh Jack City Gang."
Three men punched and kicked Brandon White as he left the store, which caused him to fall to the ground. Another person then dropped a tire on him.
Other videos have surfaced including two that came from the store's surveillance cameras, Atlanta local NBC outlet Channel 11 reported. The videos show that at least one of the alleged gang members was waiting outside the grocery store to jump White.
The Atlanta police got hold of the video and a spokesman told the Smoking Gun that the link to the clip was sent to the department's gang division and the unit that investigates anti-LGBT crimes. The local police department as well as federal investigators are currently investigating the attack.
A number of LGBT rights groups and supporters were horrified by the incident.
"There were gay slurs thrown toward him," said Devin Barrington-Ward, a gay rights activist, told 11alive. "There were punches. There were kicks. These young men committed a hate crime. There shouldn't be a debate about that."
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) mentioned the incident in a statement about CNN's Roland Martin, who tweeted an anti-gay and violent tweet regarding a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.
"If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!" Martin wrote.
"Yesterday afternoon, a video of a young man being brutally assaulted after exiting a grocery store was posted on LGBT news sites," GLAAD said in a statement. "As the perpetrators beat and kicked their victim, the attackers screamed "Fa**ot" as well as other anti-gay slurs. This is what 'smacking the ish' out of someone for being gay can look like." The last sentence was linked to the video of the attackers assaulting White.
White decided not to stay silent about the incident and held a news conference to speak about the crime.
"He is doing what a lot of us would never do. He is standing up with courage," Greg Smith, the executive director of the HIV Intervention Project told members of the Atlanta Black LGBT Collation, CBS Atlanta reported.
"Understand this, he is saying, 'I want to do something. Don't treat me like a victim.' His issue is everybody keeps looking at him like he was weak. He is not weak. Don't treat him like he is weak. Don't treat him like he is broken. Ain't nothing wrong with him besides his courage being broken. He wants to stand up and do something," Smith told the crowd.
Smith told CBS Atlanta that White's mother encouraged him to go to police and that he shouldn't "sit around and be a victim."
During the news conference White said that he left home after the attack and has not returned out of fear. He said, "If a straight person can walk to the store and not have a problem then I should be able to feel the same."
"I could have died that day. Anyone could have died that day. They don't know what they do to people. They're monsters," White said about his attackers.
Watch the video of the attack below (warning: the video contains violent content):