Badpuppy Gay Today

Tuesday, 17 June 1997


Asks Senate Panel To Amend Federal Hate Crimes Law
Human Rights Campaign Supports Measure

Compiled by GayToday


Ron Daughterty was in Washington Monday to tell his story. He told about "biker week" in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when he went out to the Rock Burger bar to hear a band. The last words he remembers hearing that night, before someone struck him in the head with a board, were: "I'm gonna kill you, faggot."

"When I came to, I was in a trash shed," Daugherty said. "A friend who was with me that night was lying on top of me, his throat slashed, blood all over. I thought he was dead."

Daugherty, 34, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., told his story today to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The panel convened a hearing on the problem of "State-Sanctioned Discrimination in America."

"There is no hate crimes law in Ron Daugherty's home state of South Carolina, and federal law against hate crimes does not cover what happened to him," said Winnie Stachelberg, legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign. HRC has been working on a bipartisan measure to be introduced in this Congress that would amend federal hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation.

On June 7, President Clinton devoted his weekly radio address to the problem of hate crimes, including bias crimes based on sexual orientation. He has asked Attorney General Janet Reno to study ways to reduce the number of hate crimes committed in the United States. The president set Nov. 10 as the date for a White House conference on hate crimes.

Bias crimes based on sexual orientation constitute a significant portion of all hate crimes committed in this country -- a total of 12.8 percent in 1995, according to FBI statistics. This is up significantly from 8.9 percent in 1991, the first year the FBI tracked such crimes.

Daugherty says he and his friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, were targeted by some toughs in the rock 'n' roll bar after his friend accidentally bumped into somebody's bar stool.

"The guys in the bar started calling us `faggots,'" Daugherty said. "I brought the bouncer over and he cooled things off."

Soon after, Daugherty and his friend left the bar but realized they weren't alone.

"I saw a guy I had seen in the bar coming toward us. He was wearing brass knuckles. I screamed at my friend to run, but he ran the wrong way," Daugherty said. "I started running back to the bar, but before I could get there, someone grabbed me from behind and started hitting me. Someone was screaming, `I'm gonna kill you, faggot.' Then someone hit me and knocked me out."

Daugherty said he came to in the trash shed. The two men were found when a band member leaving the bar saw a foot sticking out of the shed. She called 911 and Daugherty's roommate.

"When I told the ambulance crew that I have HIV, they refused to touch me, even though they were suited up as if they were handling radioactive waste," Daugherty said. His roommate had to put him on the stretcher so the emergency crew would take Daugherty to the hospital.

Daugherty suffered three broken ribs and needed 47 stitches in his face. He lost the hearing in one ear as a result of blows to the head, and has had to undergo physical therapy for knee ligaments torn when the assailants dragged him.

His attackers have not been apprehended.

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