January 29, 2011.
PACE Louisiana’s statement published on Jan. 26, 2011, regarding a Shreveport hate crime based on sexual orientation is certainly worth repeating:
At the end of 2010, the FBI released statistics on hate crimes reported during 2009, and fortunately, fewer incidents were reported than in previous years in every category.
However, when considering just violent crimes, anti-gay hate crimes had increased. In addition, anti-gay hate crimes included physical violence significantly more often than crimes against other reported groups.
This increased anti-gay violence in our country hit home on Wednesday in Shreveport when a regular patron of a downtown bar was, without any provocation, brutally attacked based only on his sexual orientation.
Witnesses say before the attack there was no interaction between the victim and his alleged attacker, William Payne. The Shreveport Police Department has charged Payne with 2nd degree attempted murder and the commission of a hate crime. The victim was hospitalized and will require major reconstructive surgery to his face.
All violent crimes are reprehensible. But hate crimes that target groups are directed not just at an individual but are intended to terrorize entire communities, to let them know that they should constantly live in fear for their personal safety. PACE Louisiana applauds the witnesses at the bar who came forward to testify, the security personnel at the bar who detained the attacker, and the Shreveport Police Department for treating this brutal act as the hate crime it is.