A group of students calling themselves “GU Pride” protested on the Georgetown campus yesterday to call attention to the anti-gay hate crime that occurred there on September 9, and the University’s failure to notify the campus that it had occurred.
Georgetown student Philip Anderton Cooney, the son of George Bush’s former chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality, has been charged in connection with the attack in which a fellow student says he was assaulted after being followed and taunted with homophobic slurs.
Georgetown students held a rally on campus at which they hung a banner that said “Why can’t you just be normal?” They then symbolically pelted the banner with paintballs. The students, who say they first learned about the attack from local station NBC4, then marched to the president’s office.
According to the Georgetown Voice, “Though many students heard about the crime through media outlets on Thursday night, the Georgetown community was officially notified last Friday via e-mail by Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson.”
Cooney’s attorney has said that “an arrest made ‘three weeks after the fact’ based on identification though Facebook and without an independent police investigation did not establish his client’s guilt” according to the Voice. However, the paper reports that the police used what Alberto Jova, the commanding officer of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit for the Metropolitan Police Department, called “a very strong investigatory [method]” of double verification. The victim was also able to pick Cooney out of a line-up photo of nine Georgetown students. Jova said that “the independent identifications, along with the victim’s injuries, constituted probable cause to arrest Cooney.”
Cooney’s lawyer still claims they arrested the wrong man.
Cooney’s father, Philip A. Cooney, resigned from his White House position in 2005 and took a job as an oil lobbyist with ExxonMobil. In March, Cooney admitted during 2007 Congressional hearings that he had altered environmental reports in order to downplay the effects that man-made greenhouse gases were having on global warming.
Campus Rallies Against Prejudice [georgetown hoya]
Hate crime suspect identified in two line-ups [georgetown voice]
Georgetown Students Protest In Response To Alleged Hate Crime [nbc4]
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