On the morning of October 31, 22-year-old Dionte Greene (pictured) of Kanas City, Missouri was shot in the face while sitting in the driver seat of his idling car. His suspected killer? An allegedly “straight” man who may have agreed to meet him for sex.
“My son … he was quiet – not a problem child,” Dionte’s mother, Coshelle Greene, told Zach Stafford at The Guardian in an interview late last month. “Being that he wasn’t a street person, and didn’t have enemies, I lean towards it having to be someone who was on the down low or someone so against gay people that they would do this.”
According to sources, the day before he was killed, Greene planned to attend a “turn-about” party where people show up dressed as the opposite gender. Friends say he had been chatting with a man online who claimed to be “on the down low.” The man was reportedly unsure about hooking up with Greene. Ultimately, however, he did agree to meet with him in a quiet residential area near the young man’s home.
Greene was on the phone with a friend when the man approached his car.
“He looks just like his Facebook picture,” he allegedly told the friend.
Then the friend reported hearing yelling before the line went dead.
Greene’s mother told Stafford she now fears that since her son’s body was discovered in a low-income, high-crime area that is predominantly black, police will classify the case as just another “black on black” crime rather than what she believes it really is: a hate crime. She thinks her son was murdered because he was gay, and that his murderer wasn’t sure if he wanted to be.
Kansas City Police Cepartment’s recently appointed LGBT liaison, Rebecca Caster, an out lesbian, said it’s unlikely this will be investigated as a hate crime because Greene’s murderer had been meeting him for sex.
“If someone is actually engaged in ‘the act,’ then these are not hate crimes,” she said. “The thing is, hate crimes need to be, ‘I can’t stand the fact that you are gay so I am going to drag you behind a truck. I don’t know you, I don’t care.'”
But Stafford disagrees, saying that, “homophobia [is] not just something that makes someone drag you behind a truck, but [is] a sickness that can make someone kiss and then kill–simply because someone didn’t want their secret to get out.”
He then notes that Greene’s murder is one of at least seven similar cases involving LGBT people in Kansas City since 2010 that were also not classified as hate crimes.
Jack Levin, a professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University, pointed out why making the hate crime distinction is important in a case like this.
“Hate crimes are message crimes, and hate-crime laws send a message back,” he said. “They send a message to the perpetrator that we do not encourage or support him–that we don’t agree with his intolerance.”
Of course, before any charges can be made, a suspect needs to be apprehended. Over more than a month after Greene’s murder, police still have not made any arrests.
“It’s been really tough,” Greene’s friend, Star Palmer, said. “This shouldn’t have happened to him. Not Dionte.”
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Graham Gremore is a columnist and contributor for Queerty and Life of the Law. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
I have never had a facebook account, but wouldn’t there be an record of the conversations with the “downlow guy”? Shouldn’t that and the friend’s phone account be enough for an arrest?
@Scribe38: YOU ARE CORRECT! Those records are also in Dionte’s account information. This is weird!
We have got to start doing something about this kind of shit. These people know they can kill us and get by with it.
this is horrible. I was being stalked by my ex-boyfriend. He had moved to California and I called my local authorities to ask about a restraining order. They told me that because he was in California I needed to call the police department there. I called the police department in the area of LA he had moved to and they told me that my local police department needed to help me. It was a complete run-around. I even moved to a different apartment… was left looking both ways when leaving my new apartment and every single day going to work. I ended up moving a 1000 miles away just to get peace of mind. Thanks for nothing Buffalo PD and LA PD.
@alsmd: I had a similar situation, but I moved before I committed murder.
This situation is weird. No robbery? Just murder? Sad.
@jd2222248: “LGBT liaison, Rebecca Caster, an out lesbian, said it’s unlikely this will be investigated as a hate crime because Greene’s murderer had been meeting him for sex.”
She must be the “investigator” as well. That would explain the sloppy incompetence!
It seems a bit early to classify the murder as anything more than murder until a suspect is apprehended. Once we know who that is, then we can argue for the kind of crime — on top of murder — that it should be called. But to do before seems like a lot of wasted energy that could/should be spent on apprehending the perp.
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