Monday, January 30, 2006

ATTACK ON HOMELESS MEN LOOK LIKE HATE CRIMES



Attacks on homeless are up across the country. Most seem random. Most are by young people who claim they carried out such assaults because they were "bored." The recent case in Florida seems like it may be a little less random then some. At least, that is what the NAACP and the family of one of the victims are charging.

NACCP, family of homeless man call slaying racially motivated

By Gregory Lewis
Staff Writer
Sun-Sentinel - South Florida


The NAACP and the family of Norris Gaynor, a homeless man beaten to death earlier this month, believe the attack was racially motivated and said Friday the case should be treated as a hate crime.

Gaynor, 45, was the second of three homeless men to be attacked before dawn Jan. 12. The baseball bat attacks seriously injured Jacques Pierre, 58, and Raymond Perez, 49, who recently left the hospital.

Marsha Ellison, president of the Fort Lauderdale branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, noted while the majority of homeless people in Fort Lauderdale are white, "the three victims sought out were people of color. I don't buy coincidence in this crime of hate."

Police have arrested three suspects in the beatings: Brian Hooks, 18, and Thomas Daugherty, 17, both of Plantation, and William Ammons, 18, of Fort Lauderdale. All three are white.

The group also wants Daugherty to be charged as an adult, pointing to recent cases in which young black defendants have been charged as adults. Lionel Tate was 12 when he charged in the killing of 6-year-old playmate in 1999. In November, Camille Alicia Burke, 17, of Miramar, was charged as an adult for shooting a peer on a school bus.

The Gaynor family, who live outside Pensacola, called the local NAACP about his death and have hired Fort Lauderdale attorney Gregory Durden to represent them.

One of the beatings captured by a surveillance camera led to the arrests of the three teenagers on suspicion of aggravated battery and murder charges.

No formal charges have been filed. All three suspects remain in custody.

"The NAACP and everyone else can be assured that we will prosecute this case as diligently and as vigorously as we prosecuted the Lionel Tate case and every other serious case of this nature," said Broward State Attorney's Office spokesman Ron Ishoy.

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