Florida lawmakers file bills to expand hate crime law for 2020

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: State Rep. Joe Geller (L), who filed HB 655, and state Sen. Kevin Radar, who filed SB 940, hope to expand Florida’s hate crime law in 2020.

Lawmakers in both the Florida House and Senate filed joint bills this month ahead of the state’s 2020 Legislative session that would expand Florida’s current hate crime laws to include gender, gender identity and physical disability. The bills would also add “association with” and “mixed motive” hate crimes to the current law.

Senate Bill (SB) 940, called the Crimes Evidencing Prejudice bill, was filed by state Sen. Kevin Radar (D-Boca Raton) on Nov. 14 and House Bill (HB) 655, called the Offenses Evidencing Prejudice bill, was filed by state Rep. Joseph Geller (D-Miami/Dade) with Rep. Rick Stark (D-Weston) and Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) on Nov. 15.

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Jacksonville transgender woman fighting for her life after attack

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Suspect Eric Shaun Bridges was arrested Sept. 29 in Jacksonville. (Photo from JSO)

Police are investigating a possible anti-transgender hate crime in Jacksonville on Sept. 27 involving the victim being beaten, tied to a minivan and dragged for two blocks.

According to News 4 Jax, though the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is identifying the victim as a man, multiple sources say she is a transgender woman. She sustained life-threatening injuries and there is no information available on her current status.

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Police: Shooting of Dallas transgender woman was hate crime

By : wire report
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DALLAS (AP) | Police in Dallas say a transgender woman was seriously wounded after being shot multiple times and are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

Investigators say a man driving a pickup pulled alongside the woman late Friday, yelled slurs about her gender identity and fired several times, striking her in the chest and arm.

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South Carolina man held in transgender woman’s killing

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Denali Berries Stuckey, photo via Twitter.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) | Police in South Carolina say a man has turned himself in to face a murder charge for the killing of a transgender woman.

The Post and Courier of Charleston is reporting that 34-year-old Dominick Archield is being held in the Charleston County jail.

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Matthew Shepard Foundation, MillerCoors, Metro partner for training

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: The “Stay Proud, Be Loud Happy Hour” roundtable discussion at Orlando’s Parliament House June 5, 2018. Photo courtesy MillerCoors.

TAMPA | The Matthew Shepard Foundation, MillerCoors and Metro Inclusive Health will hold a “Stay Proud, Be Loud Happy Hour” at American Social Tampa Aug. 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., an educational gathering designed to detail the importance of reporting hate crimes.

“Stay Proud, Be Loud” is a nationwide program that educates participants on ways to keep the LGBTQ community safe. It was launched in 2016 by the Matthew Shepard Foundation—dedicated to replacing hate with compassion—and brewery MillerCoors, longtime partners who connect with organizations like Metro Inclusive Health to provide local resources to area attendees.

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NYPD investigating defaced Megan Rapinoe posters as possible hate crime

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the Natioan LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Megan Rapinoe at the World Cup. Photo courtesy Rapinoe’s Facebook page.

The New York Police Department is investigating vandalism of Megan Rapinoe World Cup posters as a possible hate crime.

CNN reports that eight posters featuring Rapinoe in her U.S. Women’s National Team jersey were discovered on Monday to be vandalized at the Bryant Park subway station in New York City. The vandalized posters had “homophobic and defamatory slurs along with the phrase ‘Screw this ho.’” One poster also called Rapinoe a “shemale.”

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Man convicted of hate crime for threatening to kill gay man

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Scott Wayne Smith’s booking photo from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) | A 47-year-old man has been convicted of the hate crime of second-degree intimidation for threatening to kill a gay man in southwest Portland.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Scott Wayne Smith changed his plea on April 2 to no contest as his trial was scheduled to start.

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Police say Smollett staged attack because he was ‘dissatisfied’ with salary

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Jussie Smollett’s mugshot. (Courtesy of Chicago PD)

Actor Jussie Smollett allegedly paid $3,500 to orchestrate a “bogus” hate crime because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on the Fox series “Empire,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a press conference on Feb. 21.

Smollett is charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He was taken into custody early morning on Feb. 21.

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‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago by MAGA supporters

By : Jeremy Williams
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Out actor Jussie Smollett, best known for playing Jamal Lyon in the hit FOX television series “Empire,” was attacked outside of a Chicago Subway in the early morning hours Jan. 29 in an apparent hate crime attack, according to TMZ.

Smollet, who arrived in Chicago from New York late Jan. 28, went to the Subway to get food around 2 a.m. and was attacked by two men as he left, the outlet reported.

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20 years after his tragic death, we look back and remember Matthew Shepard and the work done in his name

By : Jeremy Williams
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In the early evening hours of Oct. 7, 1998, a cyclist was heading down a desolate, dirt road outside of the town of Laramie, Wyo. when he passed by something hanging from a fence. The cyclist initially thought, with it being so close to Halloween, that it was a scarecrow decoration. The “scarecrow” turned out to be the beaten and broken body of 21-year-old, openly-gay college student Matthew Shepard. He was barely breathing. His face was completely covered in his own blood, sans a strip down each side of his face where his tears washed the blood and dirt clean.

This was the introduction of the heinous attack to police, and eventually Shepard ‘s friends and family, the media and the world. The attack was felt firsthand by Shepard 18 hours prior after meeting two men in their early 20s at the Fireside Lounge, a bar in Laramie.

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Orlando 7-Eleven employee accused of attacking customer for being gay

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | Orlando resident John Richards took to Twitter Sept. 27 claiming he and his friends were assaulted in a hate crime perpetrated by an employee at a downtown 7-Eleven late evening on Sept. 26.

Richards, in an email to Watermark, says he and five friends attend an art show in Downtown Orlando and, on the way back to their car, decided to stop in the 7-Eleven located at 124 W Pine St. Downtown Orlando to purchase drinks and use the restroom.

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Paintball shooting in Lake Eola linked to potential LGBTQ hate crime

By : Jeremy Brener
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ORLANDO | Police are investigating a possible hate crime at Lake Eola Park in Orlando after several LGBTQ individuals were attacked by a paintball gun being shot from a moving vehicle on July 27. The attacker also shouted homophobic slurs at the victims.

One Orlando resident, who asked not to be identified by name, was shot in the leg with paintballs while playing the popular app game “Pokemon Go” with a friend at Lake Eola Park. He also says that a lesbian couple in the park told him they were also hit with paintballs.

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