Statement on Anti-Gay Attacks on Pride Weekend

(San Diego) After an enormously successful LGBT Pride Parade the last weekend in July, six men were attacked by thugs spewing anti-gay slurs. The ACLU is deeply disturbed by the bigotry and brutality of the crimes. Our thoughts are with the men who were viciously attacked and with their families and loved ones. It goes to show what a bold, courageous action it still is to stand up and say with pride who you are.

Public leaders, including Mayor Jerry Sanders and Police Chief William Lansdowne, swiftly condemned the attacks and made absolutely clear that such violence is intolerable in this city. We commend public officials for speaking up and acting decisively.

A thousand San Diegans participated in a rally against hate, organized by The LGBT Center and San Diego LGBT Pride, along with numerous cosponsors, including the ACLU, on Friday, August 4. It was a beautiful statement of solidarity and of community commitment to stopping hate crimes.

We urge the people of San Diego to continue this commitment. One way to stop hate crimes is to make sure they are reported. Report all such incidents to the San Diego Police at (619) 531-2000.

As police, prosecutors, the city, and our entire community proceed in seeking justice for the attacks, the ACLU also urges respect for the principles that make our criminal justice system work. In particular, amid calls by some that the juvenile arrested be charged as an adult, we urge restraint and recognition of the fact that children are different. Children are more likely to have their problems addressed and potentially corrected in the juvenile system than in the adult system.