Gay youth to speak after gang beating - CBS46 News

Gay youth to speak after gang beating

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Brandon White, the man seen being beaten in a disturbing video, plans to talk about what happened to him.

White will tell his story during a news conference at noon on Wednesday.

An emergency safety meeting was held at 10 a.m. for the Pittsburgh community at Iconium Baptist Church.

Greg Smith, the executive director of the HIV Intervention Project, or H.I.P., encouraged White to talk.

"He is doing what a lot of us would never do. He is standing up with courage," said Smith.

Smith was very passionate when he spoke to members of the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition about White.

"Understand this, he is saying, 'I want to do something. Don't treat me like a victim.' His issue is everybody keeps looking at him like he was weak. He is not weak. Don't treat him like he is weak. Don't treat him like he is broken. Ain't nothing wrong with him besides his courage being broken. He wants to stand up and do something," Smith told the crowd.

On Saturday, members of a gang called the Jack Gang waited for White to leave a corner store in Atlanta's Pittsburgh community and then attacked him. As gang members attacked White, they yelled homophobic slurs at him.

White never saw it coming. He never had a chance to defend himself and no one helped him.

Smith said White's mother also persuaded him to take action after the video surfaced.

"His mother told him he needs to get out and help somebody. Don't sit around and be a victim," said Smith.

White didn't initially report the beating to the police. He met with investigators with Atlanta police and the FBI for the first time on Tuesday.

"He didn't think anyone was going to help him. He was very shocked with the response," said Smith.

Smith said White wants to tell his story to help others like him and to help himself.

"His healing process starts with telling. The more he sits back and not do anything, the more danger it is for him to receive those blows and the images over and over again," said Smith.

The FBI is also investigating the incident. United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates issued this statement:

"Combating violent gang activity in our district, including the Pittsburgh community, is a priority of this office, as are any potential civil rights violations based on a person's sexual orientation. Along with the Atlanta Police Department, we are working to determine if the actions portrayed in the video violate federal law, including the hate crime statute. The actions depicted in the video are appalling and unacceptable in our community, and we encourage anyone with information about this video to contact the FBI or Atlanta police."  

Atlanta police said Tuesday they are working with the FBI to identify the attackers. There is a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of those responsible. Call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477. The information can be given anonymously.

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