City Hall, Activists Butt Heads Over Motive

More Questions In Newark’s “Anti-Gay Hate Crime”

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It’s a case of he said, gay said in Newark, New Jersey.

A group of gay activists suggest that a brutal triple murder last August may be an anti-gay hate crime. And many of the victims’ friends support this theory. Says one youthful source,

They were friends from high school, and like all high school kids, hung out in a certain clique. Some of the kids who hung with that clique were gay, some weren’t, but it was widely known as “the gay clique.” And at least one of the killers went to West Side High, knew the victims as belonging to that clique, and would likely have perceived them all as gay.

Newark’s mayor Corey Booker, however, doesn’t seem to agree.

Via Gay City News:

[Lupé Todd], a spokeswoman for Newark Mayor Corey Booker, approached members of the press outside of City Hall on September 21 to say that the police investigation into the late-night murder of three young people there on August 4 had turned up “no evidence of a bias crime.”

According to Todd, the police department concluded from its investigation that robbery was the motive for the crime. The case has been turned over to the Essex County prosecutor, she said.

Asked whether the police had proactively looked into the possibility of anti-gay bias as a motive in the murders, Todd said she could not answer that question, and the police department has not yet responded to a query on that point.

Police do concede, however, that the brutality of the crime doesn’t fit the burglary pattern they’ve been investigating.

Activist James Credle, who’s been leading the hate crime charge, says that at least one of the victims planned on attending a black pride event the next day.