Saturday, August 04, 2007

Targeting LGBT People For Crimes = Hate

It's pretty clear that if someone is targeted for a violent act based on their sexual orientation, hate crimes legislation should apply. Thankfully, the judge in this case (more info here and here) recognized that:

Anthony Fortunato, 21, John Fox, 20, and Ilya Shurov, 21, are charged with murder and robbery as hate crimes.

Fortunato allegedly was behind the plot to use a gay Internet dating site to lure a man to a secluded park and rob him. That man turned out to be Sandy (pictured), but the plot went wrong and Sandy ended up dead.

Fortunato arranged to meet Sandy at the far end of a parking lot at Plumb Beach, a well-known gay cruising spot in Brooklyn October 8. When he arrived he was set upon by the others.

Sandy bolted for the nearby Belt Parkway with his attackers in close pursuit.

They caught up with him in one lane of the highway and as Sandy broke free he was struck by a car, sustaining massive head injuries.

The 28 year old died a week later after his family instructed doctors to take him off a life-support machine.

Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser rejected arguments from attorney's for the accused that the trio only intended to rob Sandy and that his sexuality was not an issue.

Konviser said she based her decision on police interviews with the accused that were videotaped.

In one tape Fox told investigators that he and Fortunato thought it would be easy to rob a gay man because he was unlikely to fight back.

"This is a case where the defendants deliberately set out to commit a violent crime against a man whom they intentionally selected because of his sexual orientation," Konviser wrote in her ruling.