A viral video shows a teen in Sandy, Utah being assaulted after being seen hugging his boyfriend in front of his home. A teen suspect was detained by Sandy City Police and released to his parents after being identified by the victim’s sister.
Police investigators will submit the case to the Sandy City juvenile court for charges of assault with a potential hate crime enhancement, raising it to a class A misdemeanor.
According to the Twitter video post by Rainbow Youth Project USA, the alleged assault happened after midnight on Saturday, July 30 and the suspect was arrested later that day.
The video (available here) begins with a verbal altercation among the youths.
“Do you feel good about yourself?” an off-camera voice asks. Another yells, “Get the fuck out of here.”
The alleged assailant responds with “Faggot,” and continues to use the slur as the other demands he leave.
Late in the video, the camera jostles in what appears to be a physical altercation as someone yells, “Stop! No!” Another voice yells, “You think you can just fucking hit people? What the fuck is wrong with you?”
The alleged assailant replied “You’re a faggot” as the video ends.
The victim’s sister, Jocelyn Peacock, told KSL-TV that her 17-year-old brother was near their front door with his boyfriend.
“They were out front of the house talking and they were just hugging each other goodbye and saying goodbye for the night and that’s when those boys drove by,” she told KSL, adding that the group yelled homophobic slurs.
“Lots of hate-filled words were being thrown at my son and his boyfriend,” the victim’s mother, Stefanie Peacock, posted on Twitter. “One guy even took off his shirt and was saying, “Ooh, do I turn you on?” flexing and just being an all-out jerk.”
The group of boys allegedly came back within an hour to attack.
“I didn’t see the punch, but I heard it, the scream afterward, and that’s why I came running out,” she said.
Jocelyn said the teen has a “busted lip and gums” and paramedics checked him out, saying he may have a concussion. The teen was later taken to the emergency room as he complained of extreme headache, memory loss, and exhaustion.
Jocelyn said she found one of the boys on social media and confronted his parents, who said their son would never do anything like that. The boy who Peacock alleges hit her brother came to the house and spoke with her. Police arrived and took the alleged assailant into custody.
Sgt. Greg Moffitt of the Sandy Police Department told KSL that the case will be handled by the juvenile justice system and that the hate crime enhancement makes the crime a class A misdemeanor, which means the result could include jail time.
“This actually fits in as a hate crime. When you’re targeting someone’s sexual preference, their religion, the color of their skin, or ethnic background, those all can be considered a hate crime,” Moffitt added. “If you are a victim of something that’s targeted as a hate crime, we’re going to take it serious[ly].”