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Gang Members Charged In Calif. Gay Hate Crime

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Gang Members Charged In Calif. Gay Hate Crime

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

July 29, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Riverside, California) Three men Riverside men have been charged with attacks on patrons of a local gay club.

Juan Anthony Mauricio, 20, Sergio Roberto Rodriguez, 18, and Gerald Abraham Gallo, 18, have pleaded not guilty to assault and committing a hate crime in connection with the attacks.

Police say the three are believed to be members of a local street gang.

Witnesses said that the men gathered outside the door of The Menagerie last Tuesday and began harassing people as they entered the club. They yelled homophobic epithets and then threw two bricks and a rock at the club, shattering a window.

When several people confronted the trio they were subjected to more verbal abuse and a scuffle broke out.

Gallo was arrested at the scene. Officers chased down the two others.

None of the patrons was badly injured.

"This is not a common event and it's something that is not tolerated in the least bit," Riverside police Lt. Chuck Griffitts told The Press-Enterprise

The attack came as California's Attorney General was releasing a report showing one-in-five hate crimes in the state was perpetrated against members of the LGBT community. (story)

The majority were against gay men - 11.5 percent of the total. Hate crimes against lesbians amounted to 2.9 percent of the total and almost one percent were against transsexuals.

Nationwide, a report issued earlier this year by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that homophobic crimes fell 13 percent in 2005 from all-time highs in the two previous years. (story)

While, California has some of the country's toughest anti-hate legislation, no federal laws protect members of the LGBT community.

Legislation that would have included crimes against gays and lesbians in federal hate crime laws was dropped in the Senate in May. (story)

A House version of the hate crime bill passed the House earlier this year.

©365Gay.com 2006

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