Michigan Gay Man Beaten, Burned in Possible Hate Crime


Shawn Bennett, a gay Lansing, Michigan man, is recovering after being attacked in a public park by suspects he says began threatening him in June. He says they made the attacks because of his sexuality.

WLNS reports: Lansing2 "He was sitting on a picnic table when he heard a noise behind him, and that's when the beating began. The suspects pulled him to the ground and burned him at least a dozen times with a cigar or cigarettes. Bennett says the attack wasn't random. He says the suspects live in his neighborhood started threatening him back in June. On Saturday night they turned their words into actions because he is gay. Lansing police say they've identified the suspects, but Bennett says nothing can change what's been done he wants justice. He just wants to know why."

Said Bennett: "This shouldn't happen to anybody, no matter if they're gay, straight, black or white. We are people. They stuck gravel in my face, putting rocks in my ears, the hospital actually had to take them out. I was just begging them to stop. I told them to just stop, just leave me alone."

Lansing police are investigating but have not made any arrests.

WLNS video report here.


  1. Dickie says

    You should know that Shawn is a pathological liar with a major victim complex. I knew him for almost a year before I had to break ties with him for fear of my safety. He also faked being the victim three years ago and posted about it on his MySpace page. He is prone to starting fights as well.

    Whatever happened in this case, I have no idea and if it happenened the way he claims, then this is terrible. However, I would not doubt in the least that what he reported is nowhere neat the truth.

  2. JeffRob says

    Wow, if it’s all true as he says it’s one the most uniquely brutal non-fatal bashings in a while. Really just ridiculous and terrifying.

    Very interesting what you say, Dickie. I’ve known people like that, too. This is a crazy, crazy world. If that boy burned himself, hopefully this will wake up someone close to him and get him some serious help.

    Mike, even if Shawn was there to find random sex, who the fuck are you to blame him for being tortured. Please, please stfu.

  3. rafi says

    Shawn’s past or pathologies aside, he has obvious burns on his arms. Unless he did that to himself, someone should be held accountable. There’s nothing that justifies that kind of assault.

    However I really, really hope that he’s reporting this correctly. It doesn’t exactly help anyone to report something as a hate crime when it isn’t.

  4. Gregus says

    @ Dickie – Interesting to read your comments as something didn’t sit right the second I read this story. It reminded me of the McCain staffer attacked by ‘some black guy’ who carved a ‘B” (albeit a backwards one) on her forehead during the election.

    If this truly did happen to him I would apologize instantly, but right now….just doesn’t seem right.

  5. Kipp says

    Cigarette burns like that would require relighting the cigarette(s) multiple times… I don’t see gay bashers standing around and relighting just to add more burns rather than beating him more – and his face barely shows signs of injury. I am skeptical.

  6. DR says

    Oh, thank God I wasn’t the only one who raised an eyebrow or two at this story. Something just didn’t make sense… between the nature of the wounds, which are far too neat (did he just lay there while they burned him?) to the vague description of the attackers…

    I can believe that a particularly vicious and sadistic person would do this… but something about the injuries and story doesn’t pass the “smell test”.

  7. heythatsmyex says

    I personally know shawn. when I saw his face on here I thought “oh god, what is he doing for attention now?”

    I dated shawn when I was young and stupid. He used me because I had money, he took advantage. He plays mental mind games. He’s gone as far as saying that he has Cancer (he doesn’t), he even faked his own death by posing as his sister to make the death announcement…

    I’ve never met a bigger liar than this kid. So needless to say, I’m skeptical about this. I also agree that he probably brought it upon himself. He would go out of his way to push his sexuality in people’s faces, to make them feel uncomfortable. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn he pushed it too far onto someone.

    It’s awful to see news of a bashing, but knowing the victim, I really don’t know how I feel about it because I don’t believe it’s true. If it is a random bashing, then by all means, shame on the attacker… but this all just seems like another way for him to play the victim and get more attention and pity.

    I don’t pity him, though he is a sad and pathetic poisonous individual. It’s sad that I can actually see him burning himself repeatedly for sympathy.

    I agree with what dickie says above, he does try to start fights, he’s a troublemaker, and I’m glad I’m not the only one here who knows from personal experience. He definietely brings teh crazy.

  8. Dickie says

    And they aren’t going to press charges against him?! Little do the police there know that this is not a new thing for him to do, this may be the first time it’s been this intense or on TV, but it’s not new for him.

    And lord help us all, he’s claiming he’ll leave the state. Just do yourself a favor if you see this kid out somewhere and avoid him.

    Link the the WLNS story where Shawn admits it was all a lie:


  9. Ryan says

    Okay first and for most, this is fucked up! But I know Shawn, he is not crazy, he has a drug problem! You do drug’s and tell me your not fucked up? Hell Ya im going to stand by my FIRENDS SIDE AND HELP HIM…

  10. Ryan says


  11. cheri says

    oh my god thats horrible i have nothing against gay people though i would hate to be the one beaten just for a choice of theres anyways i have gay friends the only diff thing that they are between us is that they go for the opposite gnder lol its nothing wrong with that i on the other hand am straight and always will be!

Leave A Reply