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Five Soldiers Charged In Gay Man's Beating

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Five Soldiers Charged In Gay Man's Beating

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

March 7, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Savannah, Georgia) Five soldiers have been charged in the severe beating of a gay man outside a Savannah gay club.

People looked on helpless Sunday as the soldiers beat David Bennett, 37 on the street in front of Blaine's Back Door Bar. The attackers left leaving Bennett barely conscious and lying in a pool of blood.

Bennett suffered cuts and abrasions in the beating. He was released from hospital on Monday.

Based on witnesses descriptions police picked up five soldiers a short while after the beating and returned them to the scene for the witnesses to identify.

The soldiers, all members of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, have been charged with aggravated battery.

According to the police incident report, one of the men, Sidney Swift, boasted: "Yes, I beat that mother-f****** faggot up."

The report said that other soldiers at the scene told Swift to be quiet because they were "one team, and it was one fight."

The beating came as the Georgia legislature prepared to take up a bill that would stiffen sentences for defendants found to have selected their victims based on "race, religion, gender, national origin or sexual orientation."

The new bill was approved Tuesday on an 8-3 vote by the Senate's judiciary committee.

©365Gay.com 2006

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Man Beaten By Soldiers Likely Not Gay Hate Crime Cops Say

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

March 9, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Savannah, Georgia) A man severely beaten by five soldiers in front of a Savannah gay club may not have been the victim of a homophobic crime police said Thursday.

Investigators now believe that that the victim may have stolen the wallet of one of the soldiers. But, police caution that they have still not spoken to the victim.

37-year-old David Bennett was released from hospital on Monday. Since then he has not been seen.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Capt. Bob Merriman tells the Savannah Morning News that the soldiers, all from Fort Stewart, and witnesses say that the man had been drinking at a nearby bar when one soldier accused him of taking his wallet.

The man allegedly bolted with the five army men in pursuit. They caught up to him in front of Blaine's Back Door Bar and proceeded to beat him senseless.

The soldiers were apprehended as a result of witness accounts. (story) When they were arrested one of the soldiers, according to the police report on the beating told a police officer: "Yes, I beat that mother-f****** faggot up."

The report said that other soldiers at the scene told Swift to be quiet because they were "one team, and it was one fight."

Merriman told the Morning News that Bennett left the hospital against the advice of doctors and before police could speak to him.

He speculated that his disappearance may be the result of outstanding warrants for his arrest from four jurisdictions on probation violation, failure to appear and burglary charges.

The soldiers were charged with aggravated battery but Merriman said the charges may be dropped if investigators cannot locate Bennett.

The beating occurred as the Georgia legislature prepared to take up a bill that would stiffen sentences for defendants found to have selected their victims based on "race, religion, gender, national origin or sexual orientation."

The new bill was approved Tuesday on an 8-3 vote by the Senate's judiciary committee.

©365Gay.com 2006

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