(KCPW News) Openly gay state Senator Scott McCoy is criticizing Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller for pursuing kidnapping charges against a gay South Salt Lake man. David James Bell was acquitted of those charges last week. But his neighbors back in July, 2008, who admit they beat Bell severely, have yet to be charged with any crime.
“No charges have been brought against the individuals that beat D.J. and his partner, and yelled gay slurs and epithets as they did it. To me this is disgraceful,” McCoy said.
McCoy made that comment at the Salt Lake City Main Library on Saturday while introducing Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was the victim of an anti-gay hate crime in 1998.
Senator McCoy believes the people who attacked Bell were committing a hate crime themselves, and he called on the district attorney to charge them with a hate crime.
“We do have hate crimes in the state of Utah that are happening. We do have a law on the books to deal with it, but that doesn’t really matter if we don’t have law enforcement officials and prosecutors who are willing to recognize a hate crime when it happens, to investigate it as a hate crime, and to prosecute it as a hate crime,” he said.
The district attorney’s office has said it may pursue charges against Bell’s attackers, now that Bell has been acquitted. And in a statement, the DA’s office also defended its decision to prosecute Bell in the first place.