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|Gay activists allege beating victim Brandon White knew his attackers|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|February 24, 2012 11:51|
Gay activists with the group Change Atlanta told CBS Atlanta that beating victim Brandon White knew his attackers and was threatening to expose them for being gay. The Change Atlanta members believe the beating was not motivated by hate but rather by revenge.
Christine Koehler, the criminal defense lawyer representing White as his case goes through the court system, could not be immediately reached for comment on this story. Yesterday, however, she spoke out against Change Atlanta's meeting with suspect Dorian Moragne's mother and attorney, and the characterization of Moragne as "a good kid."
"There's a video that speaks for itself. Let the public decide," she said.
Asked if the Atlanta Police Department is investigating whether White knew his attackers, spokesman Curtis Davenport said, "We are continuing to investigate this incident and it would not be appropriate to comment on such reports. Any questions about the hate crime aspect should be referred to the FBI."
[UPDATE] Special Agent Stephen Emmett with the Atlanta FBI office said today, "We continue to assist Atlanta PD with its investigation as a determination is made concerning this matter being a possible violation of the federal hate crime statute."
Three suspects have been arrested in the videotaped beating that shows them attacking White outside a grocery store in southwest Atlanta and repeatedly calling him "faggot." The alleged attackers — Christopher Cain, Dorian Moragne and Darael Demare Williams — currently face charges of aggravated assault and robbery.
Change Atlanta activists say Brandon White knew his attackers and lied to them when he stated at a press conference he did not know them. They also allege White threated to expose some of the alleged attackers for being on the "down low," or secretly gay.
"Brandon needs to come forward and make his wrong right," Deving Barrington Ward of Change Atlanta said in the CBS interview.
"In the beginning we thought this was a random attack because Brandon was gay," added Terik Jackson, also of Change Atlanta.
And Gary Nichols, also of Change Atlanta, said he felt "duped" by White.
"We were all duped … and it's a bitter shame," Nichols said. "Brandon was basically agitating these young men about personally exposing them for being DL gay … on the down low, possibly gay. He really knows who these guys are and I just feel like he absolutely lied to us."
Jackson states that a video was on White's cell phone that proved at least some of the men who attacked him were gay and that's why his cell phone was stolen.
"There is a video that was on Brandon's cell phone. They didn't just beat him because he was gay," Jackson said.
On Facebook, Jackson states, "Let me be clear: CHANGE ATLANTA is NOT making a villain out of Brandon White, however it is VERY important to the community that supports us that we offer them truth in action. We are setting precedence for truth in our community. If you are hurting or have been hurt, we will support your truth! Without regard to how embarrassing it may appear. Truth is a prerequisite to healing.
"We cannot continue to seek healing from the same system that hurts us. To do so would be the epitome of insanity. The Georgia criminal justice system is BROKEN and cannot fix us emotionally, financially or socially! We are the beloved community that is responsible for our own. Let truth guide us to healing."
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