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NYC Vandal: "Kill the Gay Away!"

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday August 12, 2019

A vandal who defaced an East Village building in New York City with the spray-painted words "KILL THE GAY AWAY" is now the subject of a manhunt as the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force seeks the perpetrator, the New York Post reported.

The incident of property damage was perpetrated against an abandoned structure, the article said. Even so, the hate rhetoric drew condemnation from the state's top level of government, with Governor Cuomo taking to Twitter on August 10 to send out the message, "In New York we have zero tolerance for this sort of vile and cowardly act of hate," the Post reported in a follow-up story.

Gov. Cuomo added, "I'm directing the State Police Hate Crimes Unit to assist the NYPD with its investigation to ensure those responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Security camera footage captured the image of a suspect, who is thought to have committed the act of hate-rhetoric vandalism in the early morning hours of August 10. New York City Crimestoppers subsequently posted the video footage, which shows the suspect walking along a sidewalk.

Hate crimes targeting LGBTQs have soared since the 2016 election. Some of those crimes take the form of property damage, such as in the case of a Tennessee man who was arrested after taking a bladed implement to the woodwork of an open and affirming church in Connecticut. In another incident, a security camera caught footage of a vandal defacing a mural on the side of an LGBTQ community center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The sentiment of eradicating LGBTQ people has also found increasing expression, with musings of murderous violence emanating even from community leaders. The mayor of an Alabama town prompted outrage in June with a Facebook post in which he posted that gays and trans people are "problems" and suggested that the solution would be to "kill out" those parts of the population, along with "socialists" and those who support reproductive freedoms.

In 2018, Washington State Rep. Matt Shea cruised to reelection despite revelations that he had authored a manifesto in which he outlined steps for overthrowing democracy in the United States and replacing it with theocratic rule. The manifesto was overtly violent in character, calling for Christian warriors to "kill all males" who refused to submit.

Shea then easily weathered a subsequent scandal in which it was revealed that he had discussed attacks, including physical violence, and surveillance of political opponents such as liberals or "Antifa" activists. Among the suggestions made during that online exchange were tactics for attacking opponents' homes, places of employment, and the daycare attended by their children.

Watch the security camera footage of the suspect in the New York City incident below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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