Remember Brandon White, the effeminate, skinny jeans-wearing Atlanta man who was assaulted by a gang of thugs on Feb. 4? The 3 gang members who brutally beat White, and videotaped their actions, were slapped with 5-year prison sentences on Friday. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jackson Bedford also sentenced the thugs to 5 years probation each.
According to the AJC, a fourth suspect, Javaris Bradford, 24, who allegedly videotaped the beating, is still on the lam.
The crime made headlines worldwide because of the media attention on anti-gay bullying. (White, 20, is an out and proud gay man.)
But in a strange twist, several local gay activists wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency for the 3 men.
Project Q Atlanta published the letter which was signed by local politician, state Rep. Simone Bell, who is an out and proud lesbian. Ms. Bell asked the judge to release the convicted men on probation -- so two of them could finish high school.
An excerpt from the letter reads:
"Our primary interest is seeing an end to the homophobia that seems to have been a dominant factor in the attack on Mr. White. We do not believe that this will be accomplished by a long sentence of imprisonment….
We believe that the time each of these young men has already spent behind bars has been a significant loss of freedom. We ask that any additional term of imprisonment you impose be probated…"
On the face of it, the letter seems to be a puzzling request coming from the same gay rights organization rallied for justice and called for the arrests of the men who violated White's civil rights.
Bell also asked requested that the men be allowed to complete their high school educations or their G.E.Ds., so that they might “move their lives in a positive direction that can ultimately serve their community."
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