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Detective David O’Malley Walked Into Matthew Shepard’s Murder A Bigot, And Left It A Hate Crimes Cheerleader

David O’Malley, the former police chief in Laramie, Wyoming, delivered the opening remarks at Cleveland’s annual civil rights conference yesterday, where the FBI and the Northern Ohio U.S. Attorney’s Office gathered to teach some 250 local and state law enforcement officers about best practices to investigate hate crimes. You might recognize O’Malley’s name, because back in 1998 he was the detective leading the investigation into Matthew Shepard’s brutal death. When he was a big bigot.

Back in 1998, while investigating Shepard’s murder, O’Malley says, “I was fully homophobic. Mean-spirited. ‘Faggot’ came out of my mouth as easily as ‘I love you’ to my children.” How things have changed. Now O’Malley is a leading proponent of hate crimes legislation: “Why is this legislation important? Because there are places in our country where, if you’re queer, you deserve what you get. If you happen to be gay, we may not investigate as well. We may not prosecute. I’m hoping that stops.”

His speech, by all accounts, was a moving one. And though it’s been twelve years in the making, O’Malley says his personal journey from homophobe to protector (he is now a sheriff in Albany County, Wyoming) began as soon as he stepped foot on the scene. [Cleveland Plain Dealer; WEWS News]

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  • scott ny'er

    Sad, that it takes an atrocity for someone to see the light, see how bigoted they are/were. It’s just effed up. I’m glad this dude is now a pro-gay, anti-hate person and speaks out to people about this but really, why does someone need to die a horrible death to make people see how terrible they are to others.

    Just effin’ LIVE AND LET LIVE! Do no harm to others.

    It’s really simple.

  • Kev C

    Good for Chief O’Malley. Isn’t it amazing that America still has oppressed and persecuted minorities in it? 12 years, and numerous legal and social advances hasn’t changed the daily reality of basic survival.

  • Dino

    He looks *exactly* like Brent Spiner with a mustache!


    So sad that he had to witness the crucifixion of Matt Sheppard to feel empathy towards that kid…………Guess one can only say better late than never…..

    I have posted this story before, but it bears repeating at every opportunity because along with the remarks Chief O’Malley made it shows just what a vile act Matt’s murder was……..

    The nurse who tended to Matt as he was brought into the ER barely clinging to life described how his entire face was caked with dried blood, mud, and dirt. The only flesh visable on Matt’s face was the trail his tears had made as they poured down his cheeks………..

    And yet still the vile inbred savage band of scumbags from westboro baptist church for years have fought for the “right” to errect a “Matt Sheppard in hell” statue in the public square of the Sheppard families home town……………

  • Rainfish


    They thought he was a Scarecrow
    that cold Wyoming night
    …a tiny, tortured shadow,
    beneath the gray moon-light,
    impaled against the Laramie sky,
    and no one near to hear him cry,
    beneath the gray moon-light,
    and no one near to hear his cries,
    that cold Wyoming night.

    They thought he was a Scarecrow
    …they drove by…they walked by,
    for years, they closed their eyes
    in silence towards the Hate;
    some say ignorance is no defense,
    and pity the penance that just arrives
    too many lives, too many tears, too late
    …they thought he was a Scarecrow,
    lashed to a split-rail fence.

    Crucified, forgotten,
    just another Scarecrow,
    lashed to a split-rail fence
    …they thought he was a Scarecrow,
    our Nation’s brought to shame,
    the Religious Right
    …they feed the Hate
    …they breed the Lies
    …they seed the Spite,
    Oh, Christ would weep,
    for They are most to blame.

    They thought he was a Scarecrow…
    How could they have been so wrong?
    Will they give us back his life…his smiles?
    Who now will sing his songs?
    Perhaps, someday, their hearts will open,
    for even stones are known to break,
    but let us never forget,
    never forget Matthew Shepard,
    for All Our Children’s sake.

    (c) “Bud” E. Lewis Evans


    @Rainfish: Awesome poem. Thanks for posting it……..unfortunately it dovetails my post so approipratley………

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