Devin Norman, a 26-year-old from Corinth, Mississippi, was beaten by a man in a Walmart parking lot for being gay. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. Nobody disputes it; his sexual orientation was the sole reason he was attacked.
His attacker came out of nowhere and yelled “Faggot” over and over as he beat and kicked Norman until bystanders finally rallied together and ran him off.
The attacker was caught by police and quickly posted bond.
The man who attacked Devin will face charges of aggravated assault, but that’s all. In Mississippi, hate crime protection doesn’t extend to the LGBT community. This was most certainly the embodiment of the term “hate crime.”
Since the attack, social media has rallied behind Devin. Multiple posts on Facebook, Reddit and Twitter are asking for people to contact the DA, which may be a futile effort since his hands are more than likely tied by state law, or lack thereof.
One part of the plea does make perfect sense:
Mississippi has no hate crime protection for sexual orientation, however the right pressure and show of support can turn this into a federal matter.
It most certainly can. Devin is protected under federal hate-crime laws.Under title 18 US code sub-section 249:
Offenses involving actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.—In general.— Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person—-Shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both.