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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

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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 Due In Court Today: VIDEO

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The trio of individuals accused in the September 11 assault on a gay couple in City Center, Philadelphia, are in court today for a preliminary hearing. The defendants, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams, are accused of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy. All three have plead not guilty. 

From Philadelphia Magazine: 

Here’s what we can expect to happen: The case will be brought before a municipal court judge to determine if there was probable cause to arrest the suspects in September. Attorney for Kevin Harrigan, Josh Scarpello, tells me, “we won’t decide the truth of the matter in that first hearing. It is a probable-cause hearing to establish if the case should go to trial.”

If the case goes to trial — and if no plea bargain is reached — Scarpello suggests that there might not be a trial date until well into the new year. "The earliest would be February or March," he says. "If it's scheduled to be a jury trial, it could take even longer."

The AP also reports that the defendants contest the plaintiff's version of the assault: "Defense lawyers insist that both parties played a role in the encounter, and say the men's sexual orientation wasn't an issue." Despite these claims, reports have abounded that the fight was preceded by homophobic slurs hurled against the victims by the defendants. You’ll also recall the social media sleuthing done by activist Scott Wooledge who dug into accused attacker Kathryn Knott’s Twitter account and found a history of homophobic remarks. 

Social media played a large role in the case from the onset, with the individuals being identified by social media sleuths looking to hunt down the perpetrators of the heinous assault. 

The accused will not face hate crimes charges as Pennsylvania does not currently have hate crimes legislation on the books that covers sexual orientation. However, that may change if State Rep. Brian Sims and State Sen. Jim Ferlo have their way.

Watch a news report on the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Egyptian TV Reporter Broke Law In Filming Raid Of Gay Bathhouse, Activist Groups Say: VIDEO

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An Egyptian TV reporter broke the law when she disseminated information about some of the more than two dozen men arrested in a raid of a gay bathhouse on Dec. 7, according to a statement from activist groups

Mona Iraqi, a reporter for the pro-government Al-Qahira wal Nas channel, can be seen filming the arrests on her mobile phone above. Iraqi had tipped off Egypt's morality police about the bathhouse and accompanied them on the raid, according to reports. 

Iraqi“With pictures, we reveal the biggest den of group perversion in the heart of Cairo,” Iraqi (right) later wrote on Facebook, where she posted photos from the raid. The Facebook post has since been removed.

A trailer promoting Iraqi's investigative report said it would reveal "the secret behind the spreading of AIDS in Egypt,” and she defended the three-part series an interview with Voice of America.  

But 10 activist groups from the Middle East and North Africa have issued a statement accusing Iraqi of criminal conduct. The statement was published by Cairo gay activist Scott Long's A Paper Bird:

"Besides prying into people’s intentions and their private, consensual practices, this presenter clearly violated articles 75 and 58 of the law of criminal procedures: these prohibit anyone from disseminating information about persons arrested by the police to others who do not have standing in the case. We demand that the presenter, Mona Iraqi, be held accountable before the law for misusing her profession to violate the privacy of others and slander and misrepresent them, and for pursuing professional benefit regardless of consequences."

The raid was part of a horrific, unprecedented crackdown on LGBT people by the Egyptian government under President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who seized power last year. According to the activist groups, more than 150 people have been arrested on the assumption that they are gay or transgender — even though homosexuality is not technically illegal — since June 30, 2013: 

"In some cases prison sentences of eight or nine years have been imposed, on legal grounds that are incorrect or fabricated. The arrests have been accompanied by a still more monstrous media crusade, publicizing the personal information of those arrested, publishing their pictures, even posting filmed interviews with them. The media present homosexuals as a group of 'sick' individuals and criminals in need of therapy — or paints them as a deviant community that spread after the revolution."

In September, Grindr sent a message to all Egyptian users warning that police officers may be “posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you.” And on Nov. 1, eight men were sentenced to three years in prison after taking part in an alleged same-sex wedding which was recorded and posted to YouTube.

Following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, LGBT people in Egypt hoped for freedom under a new democracy, The Washington Post reports. But those hopes have been dashed as as-Sissi aims to distract people from Egypt's economic woes and appear as socially conservative as the Muslim Brotherhood from which he seized power.  

Once in police custody, LGBT prisoners are often subject to anal examinations, beaten and threatened with rape, The WaPo reports. They are reluctant to contact their families due to the social stigma of homosexuality, and few attorneys will represent them.  

Sadly, al-Sissi's government is funded in part by the US. The Washington Blade reports that the State Department issued a statement in response to the bathhouse raid, but officials have not said whether the US will cut funding to Egypt, as it did in response to Uganda's anti-homosexuality law. From The Blade:  

The U.S. during the 2014 fiscal year gave $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, with the majority of it going to the country’s military. The State Department said more than $7 million of this allotment went to “other security assistance programs.” 

Watch the first part of Iraqi's report, for which she is getting hammered on her Facebook page, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Minnesota Man Receives Six Month Jail Sentence After Shooting Gay Couple With BB Gun

OdegardA Minnesota man, Wayne Steven Odegard, who harassed patrons and shot a gay couple with a CO2 powered BB gun outside of a Minneapolis gay club in September was sentenced on Thursday to spend six months in Hennepin County adult detention center reports LGBTQ Nation. The court also ordered Odegard to undergo chemical dependency and psychological evaluations and attend anger management classes. Due to the factor that his crime was based on the sexual orientation of his victims, the court raised his probation period from three years to five years.

The attack occurred on Sept. 25 when Odegard approached the Saloon bar on Hennepin Avenue and started harassing patrons standing outside, hurling gay expletives and making disparaging remarks toward the crowd and a gay couple holding hands. Shortly after his remarks, Odegard pulled out the BB gun and began shooting into the crowd of patrons. Tyler Erickson, a security guard for Saloon, witnessed the entire altercation and pursued Odegard as he fled the scene.

EricksonSaid Erickson:

"I ran after him and then it ended up he shot a different gay couple in the leg, with that gun and it went through his jeans and drew blood.

"He told me multiple times that I’m going to go to hell and he’s going to bring me with him. He recited a biblical passage — I think it’s a Deuteronomy passage."

Erickson caught Odegard and held him until police arrived, charged and arrested Odegard for making terroristic threats-Odegard plead guilty to the charges in October. No one was seriously injured in the attack; the man shot in the leg only suffered minor injuries.


Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Resigns: VIDEO

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown August 9, has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.

In a telephone interview Saturday evening, Wilson said he resigned after the police department told him it had received threats that violence would ensue if he remained an employee.

“I’m resigning of my own free will,” he said. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

He said resigning was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

On Monday, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in Brown's death.

Read Wilson's resignation letter:

I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continues employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of the paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds:

Anthony Gray, an attorney representing the Brown family, said he believes Wilson was acting merely for his own benefit.

“It’s probably in his best interest to sever his ties with the Ferguson community, as well as the Ferguson police department,” Gray said. “I think this incident has severely compromised his ability to police in the way he was paid to do by the city.”

Watch a news report on Wilson's resignation AFTER THE JUMP...(autoplay)

And if you missed our coverage of LGBT organizations reacting to the grand jury decision, click here

Continue reading "Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Resigns: VIDEO" »


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