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Hate Crime Enhancements Filed Over Galveston Gay Bar Attack

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Yesterday I posted about the anti-gay attack at Robert's Lafitte, a gay-friendly bar in Galveston, Texas. Three men (photo, below) were arrested after one held open a door and the other two hurled rocks at the customers inside. The men are now being held on $120,000 bond and hate crime enhancements have been added to their charges, the Houston Chronicle reports:

Robertslafitte "This marks only the second time the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office has pursued such enhancements, based on the staff’s recollections, said prosecutor Jennifer Ott. As a result, brothers Lawrence Henry Lewis III, 20, and Lawrneil Henry Lewis, 18, and their cousin, Alejandro Sam Gray, 17 could face an elevated punishment of five to 99 years or life in prison if a jury convicts them of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and agrees they committed a hate crime. The trio is accused of hurling large rocks or pieces of concrete at patrons inside Robert’s Lafitte in the 2500 block of Avenue Q around 8 p.m. Sunday, injuring two men, including one who tried to chase them. Marc Bosaw, 57, needed 12 staples to close a laceration to the back of his head, while James Troy Nickelson, 39, was struck in the jaw. One of the three suspects later told police their intent was to target homosexuals, said Galveston Police Department Lt. D.J. Alvarez. The trio also hurled homophobic insults, authorities said."

Robert's Lafitte was one of the first businesses to reopen after Hurricane Ivan devastated Galveston lat September, providing food and water for the community.

Watch an interview with Bosaw and other bar patrons, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. What was that gay group back in the day that advocated rising up with violence against hate? Fire with fire, so to speak.

    Posted by: MT | Mar 4, 2009 10:12:09 AM


  2. not a good idea. Galveston is a place of peace and tolerance. to change that is to make a mockery of an already down-trodden place.

    Posted by: dolly | Mar 4, 2009 10:25:08 AM


  3. My boyfriend and I live in Long beach CA....we were attacked about 2wknds ago....after we left "Club" Ripples with a friend....this dude approached us and began calling us name and hit us once....at which i reacted....I told my bf and friend to stay put...i pull my cell fast speed dial the police.....and moved into the streets...where people could see us....the cops got there fast and arrested him.

    We were lucky!~ I guess it is true....Hate crimes against LGBT are increasing thanks to the religious right bigotry.

    I WONT STAND SILENCE ANYMORE....Everytime someone calls us names or are mean to us...I'm GONNA STAND ON THEIR/HIS FACE and fight back.

    put the police on speed dial...U never know when u'll need them.

    Posted by: Bosie | Mar 4, 2009 10:37:29 AM


  4. Back in the 1970s (I think), I saw a picture somewhere showing several gay men standing on a sidewalk holding rifles in what may have been a scenario where they or their friends were being threatened.

    It was so long ago I don't remember where I saw the picture or the exact nature of the situation. The sight of those gay men with guns, however, made me feel proud that armed gay men somewhere were standing up for themselves and other gay men.

    Posted by: elg | Mar 4, 2009 10:39:58 AM


  5. Oh hey! That's my hometown! Anyone shocked that I live in Philadelphia now?

    Posted by: Patrick | Mar 4, 2009 10:54:34 AM


  6. I guess there were no houses for these fucking thugs to rob b/c of the hurricaine, so the next best thing is to gay bash. ROT IN JAIL FUCKERS!

    Posted by: snooze | Mar 4, 2009 11:24:34 AM


  7. the problem is - those thugs are YOUNG black men who've NEVER known REAL Bigotry against them ie: 1950's and 60's....to see other minorities treat people like this sickens me.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Mar 4, 2009 11:33:16 AM


  8. When I was younger and endured gay-bashing experiences what always surprised me was the intensity of the hatred of the perpetrators. Even when I didn't answer their verbal assaults--the hatred in their voices and eyes just amazed me. I still don't understand, and all the theories about the mentality/motivation of violent gay-bashers don't answer my frustrated curiosity.

    But I DO agree with ELG--defend yourself to the fullest, then keep your mouth shut when the cops arrive. If necessary let your lawyer (or public defender)when you had to run a straight across the gay-basher's throat.

    DISGUSTED AMERICAN,

    What's "the problem" when young white men beat, mutilate and kill gay people-- just like they did in the 1950s & 60's, 70's, 80s, 90s...last month?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 11:46:09 AM


  9. "let your lawyer or public defender (if you need one) EXPLAIN why you had to run a straight across the basher's face."

    I wish I'd kept my mouth shut to the cops, and waited to speak to a lawyer 25 years ago.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 11:50:51 AM


  10. "straight RAZOR" DAMMIT! (it was actually a pocket knife--that's what I get for lying).

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 11:52:08 AM


  11. Stay strong gay people of Galveston. I'm with you 100%

    I am so angry that these thugs were only charged with assault and a hate crime. More should have been added like intimidation.

    Remember to protect yourself. Take a self-defense class or buy a self-defense dvd or book and learn at home. BE PREPARED.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 4, 2009 12:20:33 PM


  12. is this being treated as a hate crime? I would have to believe that if it were gay men abusing black folks, te out cry would be heard all the way across America. What gives these little bastard punks the right to pull this kind of BS? I am astounished and angry.... People wonder why I have a concealed weapon permit.....jeeeez!

    Posted by: HA! | Mar 4, 2009 12:27:58 PM


  13. "... would have to believe that if it were gay men abusing black folks, te out cry would be heard all the way...."

    In Texas? You don't know the history of your own country. In Texas, a white gay man's life is still worth more than a straight black man's life...and both are valued above a black gay life. Of course, nobody (gay or straight/black or white) gives a damn about the third type of life.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 12:40:06 PM


  14. You want to know why the DA in Galveston's pursuing the "hate crime" enhancement? It has little to do with the fact that the three guys charged targeted gay men and hurled homophobic insults along with their rocks and bottles. It's because they're black and, more than likely, the men they attacked were white. The legal system in Texas will take any method possible to keep a black man in jail for as long as they can. Same for Latinos and many other minorities.

    If the attackers had been white, there'd have been no hate crime enhancement, no matter how loudly the gay community screamed. After all, in Houston a man was beaten and stabbed to death by ten young men. With any other crime that results in a death like this, ALL perpetrators are charged equally with that murder, even if they never intended anyone to die; it's practically a rule of law for prosecutors across the country...except when the attackers are white kids from an upper-middle-class suburb and their victim is gay. Now eighteen years later, the only one of those young men still in prison is the one of mixed race. Hell, some of the little bastards never even went to jail. And don't forget that judge in the Fort Worth area refusing to sentence two killers to anything more than the minimum sentence he could because their victims were gay. The SOB even said in court it was their own damn fault they were murdered. He stayed on the bench for years afterwords. As for racism, there's always what happened in Tulia, TX, where dozens of black residents were convicted of drug offenses based on the testimony of one white cop...who was later revealed to be lying. And the DA in Dallas withholding evidence from the defense so he could get a conviction. And on and on.

    Now I do think the little shits deserve prison for what they did, but don't you believe for two seconds that the Galveston DA's doing us right. This is Texas. He's just carrying on the Lone Star State's tradition of kicking anyone who's a minority so as to keep the rest of them in line and better protect the REAL people of our state -- white Anglo-Saxon Protestant heterosexual men...and women as need be.

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | Mar 4, 2009 12:40:26 PM


  15. Kyle, while your theory holds water in many parts of Texas, Galveston is an exception, I think. The population before Hurricane Ike displaced thousands was split fairly equally between whites, blacks and Hispanics. Political leanings in the city tend far more liberal. The DA's office here is pretty notorious for not being able to secure convictions in high-profile cases because juries here are very liberal. I think by filing for hate crimes enhancement, the DA is hoping for slam-dunk convictions from a liberal jury.

    Posted by: Brian | Mar 4, 2009 1:03:41 PM


  16. "If the attackers had been white, there'd have been no hate crime enhancement, no matter how loudly the gay community screamed."

    I just don't believe that.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Mar 4, 2009 1:42:01 PM


  17. Was bosaw drunk? Fuck me, that's depressing...and typical. No one's denying racism in american criminal proceedings, but even if this were about racism--that they're being tried with hate crimes--it's still very much appropriate and MORE than justified based on their behavior. The "fairness" of unfairness is still unfairness. But that it has something to do with racism is just a matter of opinion short of any evidence to substantiate the charge of racist intent on behalf of the prosecutor.

    Further, let's not overlook rampant homophobia in black culture. It's a big part of it because gender normativity is one of the only ways of acceptable self expression. These kids were the products of the memes they were infected with by their caregivers, friends, and those they looked up to. And I don't feel like every time I say that, I need to qualify it by saying that it's a BIG problem for white people, too. The problem, however, is that white people, as a rule, weren't subjected to institutional and individual bigotry and financial exclusion, rather than doing it. These factors contributed to homogeneity of cultural norms and beliefs (as they do with most minorities by limiting career paths and standard of living available to the majority of those in the minority group) greater than the oppressor--though, obviously there's meme homogeneity distinctive to whites, too (like racist beliefs). Now I'll probably get accused of being a racist for writing that, too, but keep in mind I'm not denying the diversity (I despise that word) of opinion within minority groups, only that the degree is not on par with that of non-minority groups, and thus rates of homophobia are higher. And the reason is that when you don't experience it, you don't have to think about it, and that leaves greater room to disagree and be an individual.

    That said, I hope these fuckers rot and jail. And get your guns, bitches, and do as Derrick said...let your lawyer do the talkin'!

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 4, 2009 1:47:37 PM


  18. when gays "feel Proud" at holding guns and shooting people I'm sickened and feel that they deserve a similar fate.

    Posted by: dolly | Mar 4, 2009 2:11:50 PM


  19. "Further, let's not overlook rampant homophobia in black culture."

    Well, TANK, I'm tired of arguing about that belief or assumption, or suggesting looking at white men of the same socio-economic, educational background as black homophobes--to compare homophobia in those two groups. There are those (who visit this blog) who are far more articulate & knowledgeable than me who will respond to your sincere (but controversial) comment.

    But anyway, I have a new argument whenever these interracial gay-bashing incidents bring out the white Towleroadies who want to turn it "racial"--even though the wretched gay-bashers never used racial slurs: where was all this outrage when the victims of black gay-bashing were all black gays?

    It's only when we started hearing about white victims that many white gays started paying attention to black homophobia.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 2:22:20 PM


  20. It amazes me that EVERYTIME a black person is involved the long knives come out.

    You bunch who start with that "if they were white" crap are just as bad as the (probably) homophobic/racists role models you grew up with. You bring all of your racism and prejudices to the party and somehow think because you are Gay that you are none of the above.

    And the double standard on sexual attractiveness is beginning to really stink up the place? Where were the comments about how "hot" these guys are? If they had been three white guys some of you would have been all over them talking about how you would do this that or the other to/with them.

    And why are we drooling over Tom Brady, a straight man who probably would prefer we not, just because he walked onto a balcony? Yet, we hang Tom Selleck in the town square because he has a long lasting marriage and just isn't that into us, or dick? He at least made a great movie where he played a very sympathetic Gay character.

    Yeah, I digress, however, this barely veiled racism in our community is really starting to churn my butter. These three are thugs and homophobes and should be locked up if convicted. Being black has nothing to do with their crime.

    Being ignorant and violent is a disease that runs rampant in the male species. Color has nothing to do with it.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Mar 4, 2009 2:28:34 PM


  21. Well, derrick, I'm not suggesting that homophobia is innate in black people (or innate at all), so obviously there would be parallels between the levels of homophobia of white people who are of the same socioeconomic background. And, though I dispute it (as, for example, we've been hearing of high profile black celebrity homophobia for years independent of white victims), I'm not defending anyone's racism...that is, that black homophobia only matters when it starts to produce white victims. That's obviously false as there's no non arbitrary way to defend it.

    I'm glad you're sickened, dolly. You've never known true fear.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 4, 2009 2:41:56 PM


  22. '...(as, for example, we've been hearing of high profile black celebrity homophobia for years independent of white victims."

    The media spotlight who they want. Black ministers and black Hip Hop celebrities vs white gay men has become very popular with media folks--reaching its climax with the aftermath of Proposition 8.

    "... independent of white victims"

    But what was the biggest news story of a celebrity caught in a homophobic moment of the last decade? Isaiah Washington, of course. Who was his INDIRECT victim? T.R. Knight. Had T.R. KNight been Shemar Moore instead...well, I dunno.

    I do know that a decade ago Rupaul made a guest appearance on a show that LL Cool J starred in. He called Rupaul a faggot a few times and treated him like crap. I don't remember any white gays discussing the incident at all.

    "well, we didn't know about the bashing of Rupaul--nobody reported it"

    Yeah, I know.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 3:06:09 PM


  23. Everyone reading this needs to start carrying some kind of pepper spray or some protection. The bashing are only going to get worst when we get more rights or ask for them. It's a sad fact, but true. The bigots/haters are being groomed by organized relgion and the extreme right and they are starting to freak out by to much change to fast.

    Posted by: DairyQueen | Mar 4, 2009 4:18:29 PM


  24. It's the economic meltdown. As it worsens, people flock to jebus for hope and whatnot because they're desperate and without strong character and intelligence, and jebus's thugs tell them to hate, and they do... And, as it's never just one variable, blaming someone else for your own failures is a seductive poison. But it kills everyone.

    TR Knight was his indirect victim? C'mon...

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 4, 2009 4:29:55 PM


  25. From what I understand, TANK, the slur was never said directly to Knight. Didn't he tell someone, "I'm not your little faggot". That's what got him into trouble Many of my co-workers have called me faggot, many times--but only rarely to my face. That's what I meant by "indirect".

    But I'll continue to believe that gay-bashing is mainly an INTRA-racial activity (hopefully, a crime too). Unless, someone has hard evidence to prove me wrong. When black folks hate gays--it is usually black gays they have in mind. It may be changing, but for decades when a black man said "I hate faggots"--he was visualizing a black gay male.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 4, 2009 4:48:11 PM


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