Ah Mississippi. It seems like only last week we were discussing Mississippi having just outlawed slavery 148 years late, and being the last state on the list to pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. And then, what do you know – a black gay man who was running for mayor of a Mississippi town, Marco McMillian, is found brutally murdered, but the suspect, Lawrence Reed, says he had to do it because, you see, the gay guy hit on him.
Oh the number of men who would be dead if they were beaten to death every time they hit on a woman.
It’s call the “gay panic” defense, and is based on the theory that the notion of a guy hitting on another guy is so repulsive to a heterosexual man that he would have no choice but to beat his admirer to death. And the law should let him off for it, because who wouldn’t go crazy and beat a gay guy to death for hitting on him?
It’s clearly a theory geared towards bigoted juries.
And now the alleged Mississippi murderer is using it in 2013. But to be far, it’s only 1867 in Mississippi.
The gay panic defense was used a few years back in Southern California when a 15 year old gay boy was executed by a white supremacist classmate because the gay kid had allegedly made a “flirtatious remark” after having been bullied.
The defense was also used by the Ft. Worth, Texas police chief, to explain why his officers brutally beat patrons of a gay bar. You see, the patrons “inappropriately touched” the cops passing through the bar – in other words, one of them grabbed a cop’s ass. So they beat the guy so badly that he ended up with a brain injury. Shit happens.
Here’s more on the Reed’s supposed gay panic defense in the Mississippi case, from the local ABC affiliate:
However, the sisters say Reed told them everything. Just after midnight on February 26, their youngest sister received a panicked call from Reed. One sister says, “He called at 12:11am and he told her that the dude (McMillian) was trying to rape him. He was exposing himself to him, playing with himself, telling him to do things and then he’ll take him home.”
He told the girl he was on a back road and couldn’t get away. A few minutes later a bruised, bloody and broken Reed showed up at their back porch. “He just looked like he had been through war…” one sister describes, “He was standing in the back, back here, telling God to forgive him. He didn’t mean to do it, and he was saying that he just wanted to die.”
She says when Reed couldn’t get away from McMillian, he used the chain on his wallet to choke the 200 pound politician. “He was shaking real hard, he was crying real hard, he was circling, begging for somebody to talk to him.”
When asked whether they will prosecute the case as a federal hate crime, the FBI released a statement saying they’re “monitoring the State’s investigation.”
Yeah? Monitor harder.