Gay Illinois State College Student Allegedly Victim of a Hate Crime
A gay college student at Illinois State University (ISU) claims he was the victim of a hate crime after allegedly being attacked by a group of African-American men who yelled anti-gay epithets at him, Chicago's CBS 2 reported.
Eric Unger, 23, was attacked while walking home alone and was hurt so badly that he needed his jaw wired shut.
"They just wanted to hurt somebody," Unger told the news station. "The last thing I remember is just being blindsided by six or eight guys, and then I woke up on the concrete."
Unger was beaten near the ISU campus, he says. He also said that his alleged attackers first knocked his cell phone out of his hand and then six to eight African-American males assaulted him.
"Saying 'I'm gonna beat your ass.' Things like 'I'll kill you,' like 'You're a f**,'" Unger said. He added that he believes the attack was a hate crime and he was beaten because he is openly gay.
"I know this is a hate crime, just because of the words that they said and just how they were saying it," Unger said. "You know, if there was a group of white guys, you know, attacking a black guy, saying [discriminatory] words to him, that would be a hate crime, wouldn't it?"
"We came face-to-face with something that was just totally unprovoked hatred," Jill Unger, Unger's sister, said.
Although he suffered a brutal beating, Unger, a family and consumer sciences major, says he is not going to let the incident impact his life, as he is finishing up his last two weeks of school.
"You know, I'm not going to let these people scare me," he said.
Unger's father believes race played into the attack but police say they are not sure if the incident is a hate crime. They currently do not have any suspects and say there were not eyewitnesses.
Illinois recognizes civil unions but does prohibit same-sex couples from getting legally married. The state also has anti-discrimination and hate crime laws that protect the LGBT community. Illinois also has a law that prohibits bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity.