Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hate Crime Charge in Prop 8 Scuffle

A man from Torrance is being charged with a hate crime for scuffling with a man pulling out a Yes on 8 lawn sign and throwing it in the street. Torrance is in Southern California in Los Angeles County. Here's how KTLA is reporting the story:

Official: Gay Man Attacked With 'Yes on Prop. 8' Sign

TORRANCE -- Authorities say a Torrance man who used an anti-gay marriage "Yes on Prop. 8" sign to attack an openly gay man has been charged with a felony hate crime.

Joseph Storm, 23, got into a scuffle with a 22-year-old man wearing a "No on 8" button early Sunday in Torrance, according to Deputy District Attorney Janet Wilson.

Storm and the victim, whose identity has not been released, have known each other since junior high school, she said.

During the fight, Storm took the lawn sign and knocked the victim down with it, then punched him in the face and choked him, Wilson said.

Storm is also accused of calling the victim a derogatory name for homosexuals.

Wilson said it was not immediately clear whether Proposition 8 was at the center of the dispute.

Storm, who was arrested Monday night, told police that littering led to the fight.

Storm claimed he saw the victim hold up his middle finger toward the sign, then pull it out of the lawn and throw it in the street, Wilson said.

Storm said he didn't know what the sign said, but got angry because the other man was littering, which is why he assaulted him, Wilson added.

Proposition 8 would amend the state constitution to say that only marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized in California.

The controversial measure has sparked several clashes between supporters and opponents across the state.

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