Police: Tennessee Nightclub Killing Not a Hate Crime


Johnson City, Tennessee police report that a fight at New Beginnings nightclub in Johnson City, Tennessee which resulted in the death of James Lewis is not being investigated as a hate crime:

Ashby“[Lt. Steve] Sherfey says investigators aren’t sure there was a motive. He speculated that it could have been a bar brawl that went too far. Sherfey says the brawl began early Sunday morning in the club’s parking lot after people who had been drinking got into an argument. That sparked a fight where two women were hit, and ultimately Ashby punched Lewis once in the face. Lewis died the next day.”

Man Dead Following Assault at Gay Tennessee Nightclub [tr]


  1. says

    I wouldn’t trust the Johnson City Police Department as far as I could throw it.

    This is the same outfit that sent out a press release outing 40 gay men caught in a sex sting, whose names and photos the local paper then published, causing one to commit suicide the next day.

    Lambda Legal is suing their asses: http://www.lambdalegal.org/news/pr/lambda-legal-files-federal-lawsuit-in-tenn.html

    So even if this was a hate crime, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Johnson City to acknowledge it.

  2. Luke says

    And this is the reason the number one priority for the glbt community at this moment is a national hate crimes law to have these two bit thugs prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and these back woods police not the ones to make the call, although the same can be said of some big cities as well, nothing is more important.

  3. Jay says

    Well, put Luke. I totally agree – hate crimes legislation shouldn’t be necessary, but that’s not the world we live in.