Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Assault Conviction Tossed Out in 2005 Dwan Prince Attack

Source: Gay City News

A state appellate court reversed Steven Pomie's conviction on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime in the 2005 anti-gay attack on Dwan Prince, ordered a new trial for Pomie, and said he could only be tried on lesser charges of second-degree assault and second-degree assault as a hate crime.

The assault, which happened in Brooklyn's Brownsville section, left Prince permanently disabled and unable to work.

"The judgment is reversed, on the law and as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice, the sentence imposed thereon is vacated, those counts of the indictment charging assault in the first degree and assault in the first degree as a hate crime are dismissed," the four-judge panel wrote in an October opinion which was only recently found by Gay City News. "The matter is remitted... for a new trial on the charges of assault in the second degree and assault in the second degree as a hate crime."

The appellate court ruled that Deborah A. Dowling, Pomie's trial judge, erred in her jury instructions on an element of the verdict that determined if he was guilty of first-degree assault or second-degree assault. The central question was whether Pomie acted with depraved indifference, a requirement for first-degree assault.

"The evidence at trial was legally insufficient to establish the crime of assault in the first degree based on depraved indifference to human life," the appellate court wrote.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gay man shot, killed in Logan Circle

Victim was walking home from 17th Street bars
By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade | Dec 16, 1:43 PM

A 35-year-old gay man was shot in the head and killed shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday at 11th and Q streets, N.W., while walking home from the Fox & Hound, a restaurant and bar near Dupont Circle, according to D.C. police.

The victim was identified as Durval V. Martins of the 200 block of Bates Street, N.W. A police statement said Martins also suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body.

Acting Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the police’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit, said the motive for the killing was unknown but could have been robbery. He noted that officers found the victim’s wallet in his hand.

Read full story here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Family Keeps Vigil for Beaten Brooklyn Man

Source: New York Times

An Ecuadorean immigrant who was brutally beaten in Brooklyn last weekend in what the police have described as a possible bias attack was declared brain-dead on Tuesday, a law enforcement official said. But the man was being kept on life support while his family decides whether to donate his organs, the official said.

There have been no arrests in the attack, which came four weeks after the fatal stabbing of an Ecuadorean immigrant on Long Island by a group of teenagers who had been looking for a Latino to attack. The attacks have jolted nerves in the city’s Latino communities and have drawn wide condemnation from city officials and Ecuadorean community leaders, many of whom joined relatives of the Brooklyn beating victim on Tuesday.

At a press conference outside Elmhurst Hospital Center, where the man, Jose O. Sucuzhanay, was being treated, his brother Diego Sucuzhanay said he was alive but in critical condition. Family members were waiting for Mr. Sucuzhanay’s parents to arrive from Ecuador before making any medical decisions.

Hospital officials refused to comment on the victim’s condition, citing the family’s wishes. The law enforcement official, however, said that a death certificate had been filed.

Speaking outside the hospital, Diego Sucuzhanay said his brother had been singled out for his “skin color” and sounded a warning to other immigrants. “Today my brother is the victim, but tomorrow it could be your brother, your mother, your father,” Mr. Sucuzhanay said.

Read the full story here.