On Thursday, a Detroit man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violently attacking a gay man two years ago. Michigan native Everett Dwayne Avery had originally plead guilty to hate-crime charges last August, stemming from an incident at a BP gas-station convenience store.
Avery, 26, was arrested March 7, 2011, after uttering anti-gay slurs at another customer, Justin Alesna (right), and punching him in the face. (Avery fractured Alesna’s eye socket and caused other facial injuries.)
He was prosecuted under the the Federal Hate Crimes Protection Act, signed into law in 2009 despite opposition by Republicans and right-wing groups. Robert Foley, director of the FBI’s Detroit division, remarked that “hate crimes have no place in a civilized society” and pledged the Bureau would aggressively investigate all violations.
Below, Alesna addresses the reality of hate crimes in a YouTube he made shortly after the assault.