NC Victim: Was Brutal Beating Anti-Gay Bias Crime?

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Jul 29, 2009

Two men were beaten senseless in a savage attack in Wilmington, North Carolina; now, one of the victims wonders whether he and the other man were targeted because of their sexual orientation.

A July 27 StarNewsOnline story reported that 22-year-old Chaz Housand and his friend were beaten while walking through the downtown area at about 2:00 a.m. on July 17.

Both Housand and Chet Saunders, also 22, were left unconscious by the beatings they suffered. But details are unclear: who launched the attack, and why? The article related that Housand did not recall the attack, but he has to wonder if the assailant, or assailants, targeted himself and Saunders because they are gay.

Housand said that his last recollection was "walking out the door" after having been inside a bar.

"Then I remember waking up in the hospital," Housand said.

Housand suffered broken facial bones and lacerations; Saunders sustained a concussion and internal bruising, and says that his fine motor skills have been impaired, the article noted.

Housand was hoping for witnesses who might have seen what took place; indeed, the article said that it was witnesses who informed police of the beating and the fact that the two young men had been left lying unconscious.

A July 22 article at the same Web site said that witnesses described a scene on which three attackers were seen assaulting the two.

That article also said that witnesses saw the assailants continuing to kick and beat the young men after they had fallen to the pavement.

The follow-up article said that one witness related that an alleged assailant uttered the words, "This is our town," as the men were being attacked.

Tips were forthcoming, and three men were later taken into custody, one of them with blood still staining his footwear.

The article identified the three men placed under arrest as Wilmington residents 25-year-old Melvin Freanthony Spicer, 21-year-old Daniel Minwoo Lee, and 27-year-old Jong Tae Chung.

The article quoted police detective A.C. Swenson as saying, "It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight, or black or white.

"At 2:00 a.m., when people are getting out of the bars, that is the most volatile time to be downtown."

The article noted that North Carolina state law does not extend hate crimes protections to GLBT citizens.

Regardless of the motives, the injuries sustained by the victims were severe enough to warrant upgrading the charges to felony status, the article cited Swenson as saying.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2009-07-30 09:04:38 please help. any amount. please.

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