Battle Creek stabbing possible anti-gay hate crime

By | 2010-08-12T09:00:00-04:00 August 12th, 2010|News|

This article ran in full on MichiganMessenger.com.

BATTLE CREEK –
While attention in Calhoun county has been focused on the massive oil spill in Marshall, on the same day as the leak, July 25, a 45-year-old Battle Creek man was brutally stabbed in Leila Arboretum.
Now Battle Creek police say the attack was likely a hate crime, reports the Battle Creek Enquirer. Investigators have informed the FBI of the case.
The victim met the man – how is still unknown – and says he was forced to drive the man to Leila Arboretum, a park in Battle Creek. Once in the park, the victim was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck.
The victim’s screams drew the attention of a witness who was in the park. The witness went to the site of the attack, and the attacker told the witness the situation was a “domestic dispute,” reports the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Shortly after this, the attacker fled in the victim’s car. The car has not been recovered, but the victim’s wallet and checkbook have allegedly turned up in Charlotte, a small town 22 miles north of Battle Creek in Eaton County.
Police believe the attack might be a hate crime because on July 26, the day after the stabbing, an anonymous post appeared on Craigslist. The post, titled “I warned you, you dumb queer,” included the following statement, “I e-mailed and said I have something … but you did not think it was a knife did you. Now you are in the hospital and your car is in the river. I warned you.”
Once that information appeared in the Enquirer, a second anonymous post appeared on Craigslist. This time the poster denied responsibility in the assault.
The post was filled with anti-gay slurs and references to AIDS. The writer claims that the previous post was “to keep the fags out of the parks, and I am the one that did it. It is not safe to take children to parks or for a walk in the woods without running into a dick-sucking party.”
The post has since been removed from the site.
Police continue to investigate the attack. While Michigan has no hate crimes law, a federal law signed by President Barack Obama in October 2009 could be used to prosecute a suspect if investigators and the FBI believe the evidence shows the assault was a hate crime.
Equality Michigan has issued a series of safety guidelines in response to the attack. They include:
– Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone.
– Think about an escape route in advance, in case of danger.
– Look for well lit, open and secure areas in which to meet.
– If you get bad vibes, feel uneasy or get butterflies, your gut instinct is telling you something is wrong … don’t go with him!
– Never show that you feel intimidated, frightened or “out of control.”
– Never let the pick-up know you are alone. Let them think that you have a friend that knows where you are.
– If you are alone, carry a phone.
– At any sign of trouble:
Make as much noise as possible.
Run and scream “Fire!” as loud as you can.
Carry a whistle or personal alarm.
– If forced to fight, use whatever you can as a weapon – your stilettos, bag, sharp ring, belt buckle or anything that will inflict pain.
– Strike vulnerable areas of the body – eyes, throat, nose, fingers, balls, knee, feet – these hurt the most.
Create as much noise as possible.
Be cautious about revealing information that could identify you. For example, if you give someone your listed phone number, they can get your real name and street address.
For your first meeting, pick a place that’s public and neutral. If you’re traveling to visit them in their town or neighborhood, you should pick a place you’re comfortable with when you arrive.
Always carry a cell phone. This will allow you to call 911 at any time. If finances are tight, purchase a pre-paid cell phone.
Know that, no matter what, violence is never your fault.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against violence, or to report a hate crime, visit {www.equalitymi.org}

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