A young African-American man in Atlanta was ambushed and brutally beaten by members of a local gang for appearing to be gay. The assault took place on Feb. 4 and police were able to obtain footage of the attack from a nearby surveillance camera as well as from a YouTube video uploaded by one of the attackers. The video, which was also posted on WorldStarHipHop.com website, went viral overnight.
At first, the police were unable to identify the victim from the footage, but 20-year-old Brandon White eventually came forward after a family member went to the police. White is scheduled to address the video and the incident at a press conference on Wednesday.
The video shows the victim unknowingly being followed by eight members of the gang as he walks into a deli in southwest Atlanta. Just moments after he steps out of the store, one of the Jack City Gang members shoves White to the ground and proceeds to punch, kick and step on the him. Several of the other gang members join in and one even rams a car tire into White's head. Meanwhile, two other men are seen filming the attack while shouting derogatory terms at White, who desperately tries to escape.
In her prepared statement, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates called the video appalling and unacceptable. FBI agents are now involved with trying to determine whether the attackers can be prosecuted for committing a federal hate crime because Georgia does not have a state hate-crimes statute.
According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, LGBT hate crimes have risen by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010.