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Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Held On All Charges, Will Be Back In Court On January 6

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The three suspects accused in a heinous attack on a gay couple in Philadelphia on September 11 will stand trial on charges of felony assault and conspiracy, among other charges, Philadelphia Magazine reports. As previously reported, the defendants are 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams. Today's preliminary hearing was to determine whether the prosecution had met the burden of proof required to charge and try the defendants. Judge Charles Hayden Found they had:

The defendants, who previously pleaded not guilty and remain out on bail, appeared in the courtroom with their families, with Knott’s mother crying throughout many points of the proceeding. State Representative Brian Sims was also in attendance in the courtroom, which was crowded but not full.

Two witnesses testified today for the prosecution. Geoff Nagle observed the attack from a third floor window and stated that he heard "cursing and yelling in male and female voices, including language such as 'fucking faggot.'" The other witness was one of the two victims, Zachary Hesse:

Hesse said that when the pair encountered the group at 16th and Chancellor, Harrigan asked, "Is that your fucking boyfriend?" "I said, 'Yeah, that is my fucking boyfriend," he testified. "'Do you have a problem with that?'" Then he testified that Harrigan said, "'So you're a dirty fucking faggot?' So I approached him and said, 'Maybe I am a dirty fucking faggot.' He pushed me, I pushed him."

Then Hesse says that he was surrounded by the group. "I was terrified," he testified. "It's scary to have people surround you, and your arms are being held."

Before closing the hearing Judge Hayden wished all of the defendants "good luck."

Formal arraignment for the plaintiffs is scheduled for January 6th.


Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Held On All Charges, Will Be Back In Court On January 6

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6eaf522970b-800wi

The three suspects accused in a heinous attack on a gay couple in Philadelphia on September 11 will stand trial on charges of felony assault and conspiracy, among other charges, Philadelphia Magazine reports. As previously reported, the defendants are 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams. Today's preliminary hearing was to determine whether the prosecution had met the burden of proof required to charge and try the defendants. Judge Charles Hayden Found they had:

The defendants, who previously pleaded not guilty and remain out on bail, appeared in the courtroom with their families, with Knott’s mother crying throughout many points of the proceeding. State Representative Brian Sims was also in attendance in the courtroom, which was crowded but not full.

Two witnesses testified today for the prosecution. Geoff Nagle observed the attack from a third floor window and stated that he heard "cursing and yelling in male and female voices, including language such as 'fucking faggot.'" The other witness was one of the two victims, Zachary Hesse:

Hesse said that when the pair encountered the group at 16th and Chancellor, Harrigan asked, "Is that your fucking boyfriend?" "I said, 'Yeah, that is my fucking boyfriend," he testified. "'Do you have a problem with that?'" Then he testified that Harrigan said, "'So you're a dirty fucking faggot?' So I approached him and said, 'Maybe I am a dirty fucking faggot.' He pushed me, I pushed him."

Then Hesse says that he was surrounded by the group. "I was terrified," he testified. "It's scary to have people surround you, and your arms are being held."

Before closing the hearing Judge Hayden wished all of the defendants "good luck."

Formal arraignment for the plaintiffs is scheduled for January 6th.


Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims Has a #BreakTheInternet #TBT Moment

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Out Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims has been accused by commenters of trying to "break the internet" KK-style by taking us back to his college football days in a #ThrowbackThursday photo posted today.

Writes Sims:

Holy #ThrowbackThursday! This was taken in September 2000, a few hours before the first game of my senior year at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. We were in Tennessee for the NCAA Kick-Off Classic to start the season. #tbt

A few comments on the photo of uniformed Sims in the half-shirt, which already has nearly 5,000 likes and more than 125 shares:

"Are YOU trying to break the Internet?"

"And about 400,000 of your gay followers just fainted dead away..."

"Please do a magazine cover like that Kardashian monster. Make me forget I ever saw her backside."

We think he scored.

UPDATE: Sims' share caused a bit of a kerfuffle, which he responded to in a statement to HuffPost:

"It's a funny, tummy picture of me in socks and sandals. I'm also incredibly proud of my college football career and it's definitely informed a lot of who I am. I'm not sorry if a guy in a football uniform 15 years ago bothers anyone or makes them question the substance of the work I do. Frankly, when a lousy, do-nothing Congress is polling at 10 percent but has a 90 percent re-election rate, I'd suggest we're measuring our elected by the wrong standards already. In truth, women have had their credibility "questioned" by guys who only knew how to sexualize them for thousands of years. It's like saying "I find you attractive so you can't have my respect too." Am I surprised to see it happening to a guy in 2014. Not so much."


Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee Holds Hearing on LGBT Hate Crimes Laws

Philly

The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing on LGBT hate crimes Thursday - with lawmakers, advocates, and concerned citizens weighing in on the ongoing efforts to amend the state's hate crimes statues to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

CBS Philly reports:

Sims“We have an uphill battle in this legislative climate to pass LGBT hate crimes laws,” said State representative Brian Sims [pictured right].

Sims called the hearing, which was held at the Kimmel Center. He told dozens who sat in the audience the goal is to build a record to support an amendment that would add sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the state’s hate crime statute.

Victims, experts, and LGBT leaders testified. Alicia Gonzolez of GALEAI says LGBT people are disproportionately targeted:

“Many gay bashing crimes are unsolved and many more are unnoticed.”

Earlier this week, we reported that a December court date was set for the three suspects charged in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in Center City, Philly that catalyzed these efforts to amend the state's hate crimes laws.  

[photo via Twitter]


PA Rep. Brian Sims Joins Hundreds Rallying in Philly Urging Lawmakers to Pass LGBT Hate Crimes Bill: VIDEO

Sims

At a rally in LOVE Park, Philadelphia today, over 300 people showed up to voice their support for a legislation working its way through the Pennsylvania Legislature that would add LGBT protections to the state's hate crimes laws. 

Joined by openly gay Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, supporters carried various signs, including those reading "Bash One of Us, Bash All of Us" and "Dear Hate, This Is #Knottyourcity" (in reference to Katheryn Knott - one of the alleged perpetrators in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in Philly)

Said Sims:

"There are some in Harrisburg who object to restoring sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the hate-crime law. But they haven't been calling for repeal of the law's remaining protections, for victims targeted because of their race, color, religion or national origin -- they know they would take a political hit for that. Unfortunately, they think there's no political penalty or constituent outrage to face for leaving out women, LGBT people, or people targeted because of their ancestry or mental or physical disability. Pennsylvanians who don't like this injustice need to let their state representative and senator know now."

Check out video from today's rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Intelligencer adds:

KunkleAttendees also gained a few insights about the gay men who were allegedly assaulted, after a friend spoke to the crowd on their behalf. Caryn Kunkle, a volunteer for the Roslyn Fire Co. who wore her uniform at the rally, referred to the victims as “Friend A” and “Friend B” and said the two are a couple.

“They are adorable together, and I love them for who they are,” Kunkle said.

Kunkle added that the first victim was an IT professional who was also once a volunteer firefighter in Abington, and that the second was a culinary artist. She told the crowd that the Sept. 11 incident occurred when “a group of young people came to my city,” and “initiated a conversation with my friends by asking 'Is that your f-ing boyfriend?'

“That conversation quickly devolved into a nationally broadcast incident,” Kunkle said.

In a statement read by Kunkle, the alleged victims said they had been called homophobic slurs by their assailants and were still recovering from the attack, but that they had appreciated the outpouring of support from the Philadelphia community.

Rep. Sims is also organizing a public hearing of the state House Democratic Policy Committee next Thursday on the issue of LGBT hate crimes.

And as expected, Philadelphia City Council members Blondell Reynolds Brown and Jim Kenney introduced a city-wide hate crimes bill protecting LGBT citizens earlier today, with Brown saying the bill had "unanimous" support from council. 

(Photo via Twitter)

Continue reading "PA Rep. Brian Sims Joins Hundreds Rallying in Philly Urging Lawmakers to Pass LGBT Hate Crimes Bill: VIDEO" »


Brian Sims Blasts PA Lawmakers for Not Protecting LGBT Citizens: 'That's B.S.!' — VIDEO

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Here is additional footage of Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims at today's press conference and rally for hate crimes legislation at the state capitol in response to a mob attack on a gay couple last week.

Our earlier clip offered a bit of Sims' fiery speech (as well as the coming out of fellow lawmaker Jim Ferlo) but here's more.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Said Sims, slamming his fist on the podium:

"This state doesn't offer a single statewide LGBT civil right to people like me other than marriage and that's ridiculous. And what happens is attacks like this on people like me in my neighborhood. Don't let people tell you that we only have six or seven days left in session. That's B.S.!

Continue reading "Brian Sims Blasts PA Lawmakers for Not Protecting LGBT Citizens: 'That's B.S.!' — VIDEO" »


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