One Equal World

Detroit Police Investigate Potential Hate Crimes

Posted on: October 1, 2014

same-sex-marriage-cincinnatiAuthorities in Detroit are now investigating the recent shootings of three men to see if the motive for the brutal act of violence had anything to do with their sexuality. The three shootings, one of which was fatal, all happened within a week of one another; police are now working to determine whether or not these shootings are connected.

The police first found the body of one man in the parking lot of Palmer Park in Detroit and said he had been shot in the head. Within a week, two more gay or transgender men were shot in the same area of town, an area commonly associated with the gay community. “There was a car chase as a result of the Aug. 15 fatal shooting,” Sgt. Michael Woody told local media. “The officer did not know if it was connected to the homicide. The car rolled, the driver bailed and was never caught. A weapon was discovered when the car was processed.”

The police are trying to see if the two incidents are tied to each other and have still not designated these events as hate crimes at this time. Mark Erwin, the director of community development at the Ruth Ellis Center, a LGBT youth advocacy center in Highland Park, said that unfortunately, these cases are not rare. “This type of thing happens on a routine basis to many transgender women here in Detroit. The Ruth Ellis Center has lost four member of our community in the last 2 1/2 years due to violence on the streets […]Yes, I would say it’s tied directly to their gender identity,” said Erwin.

Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera said that they have identified a “person of interest” but remains at large. The first victim’s name has also not been released. Whether or not these violent attacks were the result of homophobia or transphobia has yet to be determined, but it has sparked an important conversation among the local LGBT community, which is understandably shaken.

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