Correction: Hate crimes are okay if the victim of the hate crime is a Black gay man. Justice Danny Chun recently issued a sentence so light it can’t even be deemed a slap-on-the-wrist to two Hasidic Jewish men who perpetrated a brutal hate crime on a Black gay man.
Their crime: the brutal beating of Taj Patterson, which resulted in Patterson being permanently blinded in his right eye.
Their sentence: 150 hours of community service in a “diverse organization” of their choosing, of which Justice Chun so kindly granted them 30 days to select, and $1,400.00 in restitution, for which Justice Chun (kind soul that he is) granted the two hateful douchebags an extension to pay. Two of the four men involved in the beating had the charges against them dropped.
I would compare Justice Chun’s sentencing to an affectionate kiss on the cheek as a reward for committing a heinous hate crime, and it sends other bigots a clear message: hate crimes are acceptable and are to be taken lightly.
But isn’t assault a crime? Isn’t assaulting someone for their race or sexual orientation a crime? Isn’t it illegal to commit a crime? I thought it was also illegal to commit hate crimes. Wasn’t the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act implemented in 2009? Well, Chun is a judge, so I’m sure he just forgot which acts are constituted as crimes and hate crimes.
I won’t feign shock that four Hasidic Jewish men felt they were within their rights to beat another human being within an inch of his life because he didn’t fit their definition of what makes a person acceptable. Racism and hatred, no matter who it comes from or what form it comes in, never surprises me.
These men should have been condemned for their crimes, not rewarded. I have no doubt that if Taj Patterson had been responsible for the brutal beating and partial blinding of any of one of those Hasidic Jewish men, justice would have been delivered swiftly and mercilessly by Justice Chun. Community service and an extension to pay restitution wouldn’t have even been considered, as it shouldn’t be with violent crimes. The sentence for Mr. Patterson would have been years in prison, and restitution would have been thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. So I couldn’t help but wonder: “Was it the fact that Mr. Patterson is Black man, a gay man, or a combination of the two that led to this very obvious miscarriage of justice?” Whatever the reasons for Justice Chun’s ludicrous decision, it’s obvious Justice Chun’s sentencing of these two men sends the wrong message about our justice system.