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Attacks on Gay Men Not Classified as Hate Crimes

October 10, 2002

Re "W. Hollywood Attack Ruled No Hate Crime," Oct. 4: Just when residents of Los Angeles County thought justice might be served, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has dealt us a serious blow. The city of West Hollywood had three hate crime attacks in the past month. In one case, a man's head was beaten with bats and pipes. His brain swelled and he was put in a coma. His life changed forever. Two other serious attacks in West Hollywood followed--crimes where innocent men were beaten with bats on the street.

The residents and West Hollywood sheriff's station were in shock, the people of the city frightened and outraged. We saw a police presence like never before. Citizens were proud that the justice system was working for them. Many generous individuals donated money to a reward fund. Soon posters and information flooded the city. There was an outcry of people desperate for justice.

Finally, a break. Arrests made. The people rejoiced: "The system works!" Then a shocking announcement: Cooley will not pursue hate crime charges. No evidence it was a hate crime, he declares. Three men in West Hollywood beaten near death. Does that sound like a common mugging? Surely not. By his office's account, the men were just looking to rob rich white people. Hate crimes are supposed to protect people when the crime is motivated by race, religion, etc. I guess white people have no protection.

Troy Bolstad

West Hollywood

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After hearing Cooley's reasons for refusing to classify the attacks on identifiably gay men within view of gay nightspots in West Hollywood as hate crimes, I'd be more than interested to hear his take on why the beating of a defenseless human being to within an inch of his life with a baseball bat is merely "assault with a deadly weapon" rather than "attempted murder."

Perhaps the D.A. needs a consult with Treve Broudy's doctors to set him straight on what was done to the man. Broudy survived with life-altering injuries solely because the brutal beating was interrupted and the perpetrators were frightened off by an approaching vehicle. Otherwise, there would have been no "attempted" about it.

Bruce Burroughs

Sherman Oaks

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