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Hate Crime Victim’s Relationship With Attackers Questioned

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday February 27, 2012

When Brandon White, 20, first spoke out about the three men who allegedly beat him up for being gay, he told the press that he did not know them. But one of the men's attorneys is suggesting that White lied and may have known the men, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

White was brutally beaten by three Atlanta gang members on Feb. 4. The incident was caught on camera and was uploaded online; the video subsequently went viral. The attackers called White a "faggot," punched and kicked him to the ground and one man dropped a tire on him.

"Brandon White did not know his attackers," White's attorney, Christine Koehler, told the newspaper.

The three men, Dorian Moragne, Christopher Cain and Darael Damare Williams have all been arrested and charged in the attack. Federal authorities are currently investing the case and say it could be a hate crime.

Jay Abt, Moragne's lawyer, said that White knew his client and the attack is not a hate crime.

"The thought that we would watch a video that speaks for itself, and somehow flip it so that the men that beat my client are somehow victims of fraud is frustrating," Koehler said. "Brandon stands by his assertion that he doesn't know these gentlemen. It's irrelevant because they won't be prosecuted by a hate crime law that does not exist in Georgia."

Rumors that White may be connected with the men that allegedly beat him hit his local community.

"If it is indeed true, Mr. White should do the right thing and come forward," LGBT activist Barrington-Ward said. "The type of crime is now up for question."

Terik Jackson, the national director of National Youth in College, said that White was still assaulted, whether he knew the gang members or not. Jackson added that the LGBT community would support White no matter what.

"It doesn't change the fact that he was victimized," Jackson said. "And we are not going anywhere."