Thursday, July 16, 2009

<| gay news today |>

Gay man's alleged killer faces misdemeanor charge
Robert Lee Hanna faces maximum 180 day sentence
By CHRIS JOHNSON, Washington Blade

A grand jury has indicted a man who allegedly killed a gay man last year in D.C. on a charge of misdemeanor assault.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg on Thursday informed Robert Lee Hanna, a D.C. resident, that a grand jury indicted him on the charge of misdemeanor assault for the crime. Hanna's lawyers entered a plea of not guilty. The case was placed on the calendar of Judge Rafael Diaz for a subsequent court appearance Aug. 17.

On Sept. 7, Tony Randolph Hunter, a gay Maryland man, was allegedly attacked near the bar then known as BeBar, which is now EFN Lounge.

Police found Hunter lying unconscious on the street minutes after noticing an altercation a few blocks from where they were on patrol. Hunter remained unconscious for 10 days at Howard University Hospital before he died Sept. 17.

Police arrested Hanna Oct. 15 for voluntary manslaughter in connection with Hunter's death.
Hanna told police he punched Hunter only after Hunter grabbed his buttocks and crotch, according to an Oct. 16 police affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Chris Farris, co-chair of D.C. Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence, and said he was "very disappointed" in his city and that the U.S. Justice Department owes D.C. citizens an explanation "for this outrageous decision."
"With this charge, Washington, D.C, has sent a clear and disturbing message to its citizens," he said.
"If you kill a gay man, just say he groped you."

If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Hannah could face up to 180 days behind bars and a $1,000 fine, according to the Justice Department.
wow. WOW. WOW!

first off, let me say that i remember when this attack initially happened. i remember being so shocked b/c it was bebar! everyone had been there at one point or another. i know people who regularly go to it now- as the EFN lounge.

but what i remember most was my dear mother's reaction which was, "ashley! you will not go to bebar, or go to the gay clubs in DC! people know where the gay clubs are and they are attacking people." she then went on about how i need to be more vigilant around angry lesbian gangs. (FYI my mother...oh my mother. well, she will have her own post someday- i would need an entire blog to chat it up about her- i digress) her words subsequently turned into a fight. my argument was, why in the world should i not frequent a gay business that i enjoy giving my money too b/c some douche bag felt that his manhood was called into question? her rebuttal was 'its dangerous, and you are far too trusting with people'. i couldnt really argue with that b/c its very much true. but i still maintained that i shouldn't give in- no one should have to change their life b/c of another persons prejudices.

i remember being scared. being scared of a place that was meant to bring joy to make people feel free, and connected and at home. but moreover i was really confused. the obvious question being 'why'. the excuse (as if there is a valid one for murder..pfft) was "he punched Hunter only after Hunter grabbed his buttocks and crotch. " now, if thats grounds for murder, well then i don't know if i have faith in humanity any more. do you know how many gays would kill each other over random drunk club encounters?!
(alright, arguably not the appropriate time for a joke)

the message that the DC courts are instilling in people is that this sort of hatred is acceptable. a slap on the wrist for a hate crime- and not just any hate crime, but MURDER- is completely unfathomable to me. it really does boggle my mind and also makes me feel unsafe in my own city. how am i to walk safely to my car at night post-clubbing when i know that some prick like this could provoke me and easily beat me up (b/c ima be real with you, these skinny little garden snakes can throw a good punch or two, but ive never been in an actual fight in my life, and never intend to- however, im scrappy as hell and im pretty sure i could do some crazy shit to really terrify an attacker, not the least of which would be a shrill bird call- leaving the predator confused and temporarily deaf) and then, when im in a coma and then die- that same dick could say anything he wanted to get out of i groped him or made him question his latent homosexuality.

i dont care if that boy stuck his tongue down your throat, hell i dont care if he tried to give you a rim job! murder is never warranted, ever. how is it your place to decide that someone no longer deserves to live? we all need to be careful- this dude will be back on the streets way WAY too soon...180 days?? people are on probation for their DUIs for longer than this dude will be locked up for MURDER!!

i just wish that everyone would focus more of their energies on themselves.
i wish people would let go of all of this hate and anger towards the unfamiliar.

lesbifriends guys. c'mon- SHM'ON! lesbifrends.

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