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Mississippi Narcotics Agents Get Off Easy for Anti-gay Assault

In a sentence he said "[does] not suit the Department of Justice and the victims," U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Sumner ordered one former Mississippi Narcotics Agent a year of home confinement and another one month in prison and 11 months of home confinement for the 2004 assault of two gay men.

Jackson"James Buitt, then 42, and Michael Mathis, then 47, both of Bogue Chitto filed a complaint Sept. 16, 2004, alleging abuse by MBN agents on Aug. 29, 2004, at a parking lot near Jack & Jill's bar in Jackson because of their sexual orientation. Buitt said he was sent to the University of Mississippi Medical Center with a broken arm and nose, and Mathis said his hand was broken. Buitt said Tuesday he was out of work for nine months because of surgery on his arm and suffered numerous other repercussions because of the actions by the agents."

Buitt and Mathis were defended by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paige Fitzgerald, who had recommended a year in prison for each of the agents.

On the evening of the attack, the agents attempted to coerce their victims into not filing a complaint, according to 365gay.com: "Forman and Reynolds followed the victims to the hospital where they confronted them, and tried to get them to agree that they would not file a complaint against them if they would not charge Buitt with driving under the influence of alcohol. Buitt ordered the agents to leave, and accordingly, Reynolds and Forman filed a DUI charge against him. Forman later testified falsely against the Buitt in Hinds County Justice Court in relation to the DUI charge. The offenses against Buitt were later dismissed in court. Following that the federal civil rights charges were laid by the US Attorney's department."

Following the sentencing, Forman and Reynolds "received congratulatory hugs from [a] crowded courtroom of law enforcement supporters" according to the Clarion Ledger.

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  1. Reading the post, I had to think "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Typical."

    Then, the last sentence hit! A room full of "law enforcement supporters" who are glad when guys get off easy for gay-bashing! Yep, makes me feel safe to be in America.

    Now I have a better understanding of why Zeke doesn't consider Mississippi home sweet home any longer.

    Posted by: JT | Jan 25, 2007 3:29:23 PM


  2. I always thought it was easier for gays in the US of A, but by now it seems so much easier here in Germany - though there are still some issues here too! But not nearly as much as what's going on over on your side. I hope that it'll become easier for all homosexuals in the future. We are just as normal as heterosexuals, simply smaller in numbers ;-)

    Posted by: schnurzelpups | Jan 25, 2007 3:37:39 PM


  3. Well, my dear Schnurzlepups, I think you should speak for yourself. My numbers are pretty big.

    Posted by: JT | Jan 25, 2007 3:50:16 PM


  4. so where are the self-hating Republikkan wingnuts to say that it's worse for gay people in Iraq and that no one's trying to kill us or put us in jail here just for being gay?

    Hey Andy, isn't there a way of putting a link to this story automatically on every post by the self-hating Log Kkkabinites who claim that the Clintons are more dangerous to gay people than the stars of this news story?

    What's that song that went: don't trust your soul to no backwoods southern lawyer/'Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands?

    And whoa, it just reminded me of the other line in the song: Little sister don't miss when she aims her gun...

    Words to ponder as the gay-bashers go free, and bash again in the name of Bush Republicanism.

    Posted by: bambambam | Jan 25, 2007 4:15:25 PM


  5. A room full of law enforcement supporters gave them congratulatory hugs?! Disgusting. I've always said the only thing separating the cops from the thugs is that the cops wear a uniform...and apparently attend trials to support their homies.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 25, 2007 4:19:34 PM


  6. Well, at least we know we can find them at home. Now to dig up their addresses...

    Posted by: Ulrich | Jan 25, 2007 4:23:09 PM


  7. Ulrich...I have to admit the same thought crossed my mind. If only I weren't so steeped in non-violence...

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 25, 2007 4:33:00 PM


  8. EXACTLY JT!

    My Mississippi heritage, once a source of pride, has, with education, reflection and adult experience, become an endless source of enormous shame to me.

    I actually brought this story to Andy's attention.

    As much as it shames me and breaks my heart, I want the world to know about the shameful culture of racist and homophobic bigotry that continues to thrive in the land of my birth.

    The lessons of the civil rights movement of the sixties and the stories of Emmett Till and other martyrs of the African-American civil rights movement as well as the stories of evil bastards like Edgar Ray Killen (who was convicted of MANSLAUGHTER 41 years to the day after he MURDERED three civil rights workers in 1964) have been totally lost on the people of Mississippi.

    It truly makes my tender side want to cry...

    right before I let my MUCH LARGER woop-ass side go to kick some ignorant, Mississippi, redneck ASS!!!

    I'm these people's worst nightmare: a Southerner, a Christian, a Husband and a Father who just happens to be an unashamed and outspoken Homa-sek-shul redneck, with a thick Mississippi accent and an attitude!

    It's enough to make Hannibal Lecter (the creation of a fellow Mississippian) cringe!

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 25, 2007 4:42:55 PM


  9. By the way, when the jury, in 1955, found the torturers and murderers of Emmett Till, an African-American youth from Chicago, NOT guilty, the Bible toting masses surrounding the Court House erupted in jubilation in a similar manner.

    Two weeks later the exonerated men granted an interview to Life magazine where they bragged about having committed the murder. Interestingly enough, the townspeople of Money Mississippi, and whites throughout the state, continued to support the men, even with the knowledge that they had indeed committed the murder.

    And the beat goes on…

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 25, 2007 4:51:59 PM


  10. We live in a nation where gay-bashing law enforcement officers get slaps on the wrist, war criminals get reelected to second terms as the two highest constitutional officers, and states are legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians in their constitutions. But, the state of our union is strong. Right.

    Posted by: JT | Jan 25, 2007 5:05:16 PM


  11. To add to your comment JT ... they get slaps on the wrist for gay bashing, but two border patrol agents end up with years for doing the job they were supposed to do, and the "bad-guy" gets immunity and freedom ..

    Somehow, I feel the disconnect --

    Posted by: WD | Jan 25, 2007 5:45:12 PM


  12. I live in the great state of Mississippi, I am open and never run across any type of discrimination ever. I think that the media plays a large role in pushing people to think that we are ALL a bunch of rednecks. I live in the city of Tupelo, home of the American Family, and you would never know that their HQ were based here, unless you did some research. Believe it or not, you never read about them or hear about them period. Mississippi gets a bad rap and most of it is uncalled for except things of this nature.

    Posted by: Butch | Jan 25, 2007 5:47:48 PM


  13. Butch, I live in the South too. I know sometimes we get called 'redneck' 'backwards', etc. However, I'm a CEO-and if that happened in my city I would raise hell.

    If you do not want to be thought of as a backwards hick-don't ask like one.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 25, 2007 6:14:05 PM


  14. (act)

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 25, 2007 6:15:43 PM


  15. Shameful! Unjust! Unacceptable!

    Posted by: Jack! | Jan 25, 2007 6:17:19 PM


  16. In 1984 I was leaving my waiter job in Jackson Mississippi which was around the corner from the gay bar. The minute I pulled out of the parking lot I was pulled over by an Officer from the Jackson Police. He accused me of driving drunk (I was cold sober) and for coming from the gay bar with the "other faggots". I explained I just got off work and was on my way home. He told me to get out of the car and immediatly handcuffed me, catching my skin in the cuffs. He slammed me to the ground and proceeded to search my car and found some cassette tape deck cleaner which he called "poppers". I was arrested without being told why, held for a day and then released after posting bail. The final charge was running a stop sign and "resisting arrest". I guess my screams of pain from the handcuffs was the resistance referred to. At the court date, the officer didn't show when my case was called. Another cop whispered something to the judge, who placed my file back on the bottom. At the end of the court date, the cop came in out of breath. He proceeded to lie on the stand about what he observed and played out an entirely different scenerio to what happened. When it became my turn to speak, I calmly relayed the entire incident and expressed the shame, humiliation, and abuse I had recieved from the officer and his hatred of "faggots". Despite presenting a time stamped time card, photos of the the stop sign, and photos of my injury, the judge ruled against me and admonished me for bringing it to trial. She refused to believe the officer would use such language as he went to her church, and told me that I was lucky she didn't charge me for other offences. Bible Belt indeed.

    Posted by: Robert Williams | Jan 25, 2007 6:27:29 PM


  17. Butch, with all due respect, I was born in Tupelo MS and raised in Oxford, and I felt exactly as you do until I moved away from the state and started seeing things from a different perspective. I passionately defended the Magnolia State against all criticism for years after I moved. I felt personally insulted by negative statements about Mississippi and Mississippians and I felt a duty and obligation to be loyal to my heritage and spin everything to the positive. At some point I realized that in order to blindly defend the State of Mississippi, and her people, I had to ignore reality and live in the State of Denial. Although I realize that my home state has a lot of positives aspects to, and good people in, it, it is ridiculous to deny or ignore its shameful history or its current stubborn refusal to give up on bigoted mentalities and traditions.

    I was recently back home for a visit with my family. The fundamentalist religious stamp was a constant, ever present and undeniable factor in EVERY aspect of life there. I know what it feels like to feel the need to defend your home, your friends and your family from the constant negative comments about Mississippi but unfortunately most of the criticism is deserved and has been earned.

    I know there are a lot of good people in the state and I know Mississippi has positive historical events that are all to often overlooked, but to claim that the state is not held hostage by the religious, fundamentalist right and a very real undercurrent of racism and homophobia is dishonest at best and delusional at worst.

    I sincerely wish you the best and hope that you continue to have a positive experience in the state.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 25, 2007 6:36:07 PM


  18. BAMBAMBAM the song you are thinking about is 'The Night the Lights went out in Georgia' written by Vicki Lawerence (from the Carol Burnett Show) and her husband Bobby Russel. It hit #1 on Billboard in 1973. Sadly some things have not changed much since then.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Jan 25, 2007 6:47:59 PM


  19. I would like to clarify a couple of things about the word "redneck".

    First of all, not all Southerners are rednecks and not all rednecks are Southerners.

    Secondly, not all rednecks are ignorant and bigoted even though the word has come to be synonymous with "ignorant" and "bigoted". I know this to be true because I am PROUD to be a redneck but I am neither ignorant nor bigoted. I take great offense when people assume that just because I am Southern, a Mississippian and a self proclaimed redneck that I am uneducated, racist, xenophobic or a religious fundamentalist.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 25, 2007 7:00:56 PM


  20. Should we really be so surprised about this coming from Mississippi? On Wednesday they have finally arrested the former sheriff's deputy in Roxie for the murder of two African-Americans in 1965! They still want their stars and bars! Trent Lott! Need I say more?

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 25, 2007 7:01:55 PM


  21. Robert Williams--what an awful experience. I'm sure it's not something you'll ever forget or get over, but I wish you best.

    Posted by: mw | Jan 25, 2007 7:08:51 PM


  22. Reba McEntire released her remake of "The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia" in 1992 with an awesome accompanying video.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 25, 2007 7:11:31 PM


  23. Robert, that would have caused me to pull a Brian Nichols!

    Posted by: Je | Jan 25, 2007 7:25:15 PM


  24. I was raised by a very liberal family, what can I say?

    Posted by: Butch | Jan 25, 2007 7:29:00 PM


  25. "Buitt and Mathis were defended by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paige Fitzgerald..."

    U.S. Attorneys don't 'defend' people. Sorry for the legal nitpicking.

    Posted by: Nitpick | Jan 25, 2007 7:54:23 PM


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