Trial opens Tuesday in Brandon White beating
So much for the wheels of justice grinding slowly: The men accused of beating a gay Atlanta man and posting video of the attack online will face trial on Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court.
Four men—Javaris Bradford, Christopher Cain, Dorian Moragne and Dareal Demare Williams—are charged in the Feb. 4 attack on Brandon White (photo). Prosecutors call it a hate crime and the video of the beating outside a southwest Atlanta grocery store received national attention.
A trial is scheduled to start on Tuesday at 9 p.m. before Fulton Judge T. Jackson Bedford. The men are charged with participation in criminal street gang activity, robbery by force and two counts of aggravated assault.
Cain, Moragne and Williams were arrested and all four men were indicted in February. But it’s not clear if Bradford has been arrested and will face trial on Tuesday. He remained at large in early April and the Fulton County Jail did not show a recent arrest for him on Friday. A spokesperson for the Fulton District Attorney’s Office did not immediately clarify Bradford’s status on Friday morning.
LGBT activists said they are pleased the case is proceeding to trial.
“Our goal has always been to seek justice in the court of law not in the media, while creating community awareness about the unspoken of and non-reported violence against the LBGT community,” Greg Smith, who has counseled White since the attack, says in a prepared statement.
In the weeks after the attack Smith, executive director of the HIV Intervention Project, launched Speak Out With Brandon! with White as its public face. The project is an effort to help people speak out against violence.
Georgia Equality, which announced the trial in an email to supporters on Friday, praised prosecutors for their work in the case and called on lawmakers to pass a hate crime law in the state. Georgia is one of five states without such a measure.
“It is important to make a statement to would be offenders, as well as to the gay and transgender community, and other targeted communities in Georgia, that bias motivated crimes intended to intimidate and terrorize an entire community will absolutely not be tolerated and will receive maximum punishment,” Melinda Sheldon, GE’s deputy director, says in a prepared statement. “It is time for lawmakers in Georgia to pass hate crimes legislation. Give our local law enforcement agencies the tools and support they need to investigate and prosecute bias motivated crimes and build safer communities for all Georgians.”
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