Are Lesbian Gay-Bashers Guilty of a Hate Crime? - Politics - the Atlantic Wire
The Boston Herald spotlights a fascinating criminal case today: Last Sunday, Erika Stroud, 21, her sister Felicia Stroud, 18 (pictured, left), and a third woman, Lydia Sanford (pictured, right), attacked a gay man in a stairwell of a Boston subway station viciously enough to break his nose. Prosecutor Lindsey Weinstein said they repeatedly punched and kicked him “after he bumped them with his backpack.” As they beat him, they also “called him insulting homophobic slurs,” according to the victim’s account, and he told police he believed he was attacked because of his sexual orientation. They were swiftly arraigned yesterday on hate crime charges. But here’s the thing: All three identify as lesbians. It’s a legal conundrum: Do hate crime laws apply to members of the minorities they seek to protect? City prosecutors and the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU think they do, and are pursuing a charge of assault and battery with intent to intimidate — a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison.
“Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic,” said ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch. “The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.” […]
“The defendants’ particular orientation or alleged orientations have no bearing on our ability to prosecute for allegedly targeting a person who they believe to be different from them,” [Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley] said.