Friday night, 32-year-old Marc Carson was shot in the head in Greenwich Village. Investigating his death, police are now calling the incident a hate crime.
The victim and a friend were at a pizzeria when his attacker, who was with two other men, began to taunt the two friends. He mocked the way they were dressed, calling them f***ers and “gay wrestlers”.
They crossed each other’s paths a little while later. “Do you want to die here?” the shooter asked the victim.
He pulled out a .38-caliber revolver and shot him once in the cheek.
“It was a quickie. He shot him and he went straight to the ground,” said a bouncer at a nearby club. “Half his body was lying on the sidewalk and half was on the street.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said “This is clearly a hate crime.”
After the shooting, the perpetrator ran towards downtown. Multiple witnesses aided police, who picked him up a short time later.
He is being questioned by police, but they have not confirmed his identity because he was carrying a fake I.D.
As the alleged shooter was leaving the scene, a bartender confronted him. He told him not to call the cops, or he’d shoot him as well.
“Don’t you know I’m wanted? Do you know about the shooting in Sandy Hook?” he bizarrely told the bartender, according to Kelly. “I’m a wanted man.”
The incident occurred in City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s district.
“I stand with all New Yorkers in condemning this attack,” Quinn said in a statement. “There was a time in New York City when hate crimes were a common occurrence. This kind of shocking and senseless violence, so deeply rooted in hate, has no place in a city whose greatest strength will always be its diversity.”
When an offense is labeled a ‘hate crime’, a powerful message is sent to the public. A misdemeanor can become a felony, and sentences can become more lengthy. In the case of murder, the death penalty can often be applied more readily.
“A hate crime is one of the more difficult cases to make,” said Scott Thorpe, CEO of the California District Attorneys Association.
Convictions where the defendant was accused of a hate crime are rare. Last year, in the state of Texas, only one prosecution was successful.
One reason the prosecution of crimes that were committed based on racism, bigotry, or homophobia are infrequent, is because district attorney’s offices often choose not to attach the label of ‘hate’, in order to secure a guilty verdict.
Evidence that the crime committed is a ‘hate’ crime must be tangible. Facebook records, or prior verbal or physical attacks must be documented. Another way is if the attacker was using a term detrimental to a victim while he or she is being assailed.
Legal authorities believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘hate’ crimes go unreported by the victims each year. In the case of the LGBT community, many victims have not openly revealed their sexual orientation, and choose not to have it exposed.
The Guardian Express