On September 11, 2014, a group of 20-something year olds brutally beat a gay couple in downtown Philadelphia, PA (PA’s laws don’t include sexual orientation in its hate crimes statutes, so even though the crime was hate based, it can’t be prosecuted as a hate crime).
The attack happened at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 11th near Rittenhouse Square.
Investigators say the victims, a 28-year-old man and a 27-year-old man, were in the 1600 block of Chancellor Street when police say they were approached by a group of ‘unknown males and females.’
The attack left both victims with multiple injuries. One of the men has had his jaw wired shut and will have to drink through a straw for months.
Let that sink through your head: a group of men and women brutally beat two human beings because they were gay. They violated their human and civil rights. They treated them as things. Things to exert their power over. They terrorized these two young men because they did not like their sexuality. This is 2014, and there are still plenty of people who view LGBT people as second class citizens and will freely terrorize them simply for expressing their sexuality or gender identity. This both disgusts me and worries me.
On September 12, the Philly Police Department released this video of the attackers:
Central Detective Division is looking to identify and locate the suspects wanted for Hate Crime/Assault and Robbery in Rittenhouse.
On September 11, 2014, at 10:45 pm, the complainant, a 28 year-old male, along with a friend, a 27 year-old male, were on the 1600 block of Chancellor Street when they were approached by a group of unknown white males and females. As the group approached the complainants they made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. The group then attacked the complainants holding them while other members of the group punched them in the face, head and chest. During the assault one of the complainants dropped his bag containing his cell phone, wallet and credit cards. When police approached one of the suspects picked the bag up from the ground. The group then fled and were last seen north on 16th Street towards Walnut Street. Both complainants were transported to Hahnemann Hospital for multiple injuries. One complainant was treated for fractures and deep lacerations to his face requiring surgery and his jaw wired shut.
- Suspect Description: A group of approximately 10-12 white male and females all in their early 20′s “clean cut” and well dressed. One suspect was described as having a husky build, brown hair, wearing a brown shirt and shorts.
[interlude: for people who are heterosexual-this is an example of straight privilege. You don’t have to worry about walking down the street with your partner and be worried about being attacked because of who you love. You don’t have to worry about people hurling bigoted epithets that denigrate your sexuality.]
The couple was on their way out for pizza when a group of a dozen well-dressed men and women in their 20’s approached them about 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.
“Somebody says as we cross 16th. Is that your f-ing boyfriend? And I looked at him, and said that is my f-ing boyfriend. He goes you are a dirty (bleep). And I said yes I am a dirty (bleep) and he punched me int he face,” said the victim.
The victims say the group of attackers were yelling homophobic slurs during the beating. Then, they took off leaving one of the men in a pool of his own blood.
“When I saw 3 or 4 of these guys on me, I turned around and saw his head hit the ground like hard and didn’t come up and I was horrified. I thought he was dead,” said the victim.
In no time at all, concerned citizens took to social media to search online for the identities of the attackers.
Hours after authorities released surveillance video, Twitter users were credited by Philadelphia Police for searching online for the identities of people from a group seen in the video.
Twitter user fansince09 told Action News he was disgusted by the attack. Apparently many of his followers were, too, and they joined in the effort.
Fansince09 tweeted the video to his thousands of followers, and soon re-tweeted a picture apparently taken of this group at a nearby restaurant.
He looked on Facebook to see who had checked into that restaurant, and started clicking links, matching pictures to the video.
His effort resulted in a picture of a large party dining at a Center City restaurant. Police sources say that photograph is now part of the investigation.
Fansince09 got a shout-out on Twitter from police for his detective work.
Thanks to the efforts of citizens on social media, the gang of attackers were identified:
Philly.com is reporting that one of suspects identified through the video is Fran McGlinn, a former student and assistant basketball coach for Archbishop Wood Catholic High School. (Photo above) Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia confirmed earlier today that McGlinn has been fired for his role in the incident:
“He was terminated this evening and will not be permitted to coach in any archdiocesan school,” Gavin said. “We expect all those who work with students in our schools to model appropriate Christian behavior at all times.”
Like McGlinn, several of the young men who turned themselves are reported to be former students of Archbishop Wood Catholic High School.
Once again, the claim that religiosity leads to morality is shown as the lie it is.
To make matters totally not better at all, the Philadelphia Archbishop issued a statement condemning the attack, but offered no support for the couple:
“A key part of a Catholic education is forming students to respect the dignity of every human person whether we agree with them or not. What students do with that formation when they enter the adult world determines their own maturity and dignity, or their lack of it. Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian. A recent beating incident in Center City allegedly involved, in some way, a part-time coach at Archbishop Wood High School. After inquiries by school leadership, the coach was contacted regarding the matter and he resigned. Archbishop Wood’s handling of the matter was appropriate, and I support their efforts to ensure that Catholic convictions guide the behavior of their whole school community, including their staff.”
I’m sure if the victims were a heterosexual couple the Archbishop (why the fuck does that get capitalized? These guys worship and pray to an imaginary being. There is literally nothing special about them. If someone claimed to worship invisible pink unicorns, would you need to capitalize ‘ministers of invisible pink unicorns’?) would have issued a statement expressing his sympathies for them. I’m not surprised though. The Catholic Church hardly treats LGBT people as if they’re human. Yes, on paper, or in the mealy-mouthed words they utter, they say LGBT people are human, but through their actions, they demonstrate their disdain, contempt, disregard, and often utter hatred, of LGBT people. Through their actions, they demonstrate that they don’t view us as human beings. Fuck the goddamn Catholic Church.