The Christmas Day beating of 30-year old Kenny Shaw, a proud black gay man who was assaulted by a group of young thugs outside a local convenience store, has taken a turn for the worst; as only one of the alleged suspects has been charged in the incident – and communications with the victim have gone cold.
Shaw, an East Baltimore beautician who was severely beaten for almost ten minutes by these young hoodlums, only feet away from his home; recently sent out an email to police commanders and the state’s attorney’s office for Baltimore, questioning their sincerity regarding his condition.
Placed into protective custody after officers arrested one of the suspects, 26-year old Marcus Evans; Shaw has said that he has reached out several times over the past three weeks to detectives and the state’s attorney’s office, and hasn’t received so much as a phone call or email back in reply.
“I was promised that if I needed anything within reach I would receive it, yet it’s been two days since I last ate anything and my livelihood as a cosmetologist has been taken from me based on this situation,” says a very distraught Shaw. “I was told to stay out of the press and to keep everything ‘in-house’, yet have been given the cold shoulder for weeks now?”
Articulating his concerns in an email addressed to Jennifer Hastings from the State’s Attorney’s Office and Reggie Scriber from the city’s Housing Department, along with copying his good friend Kinji Scott; Shaw’s frustrations can be felt through the pain in his words.
“I’m concerned about the lack of communication he’s getting from those who are suppose to be there to protect and serve his interests as a victim of senseless violence,” says Scott, a gay baptist preacher and activist for the LGBT community in Baltimore. “I would think communication would be key in his situation, as he was placed in protective custody based on Mr. Evans apparent threats against him after he was bailed out in this case.”
And Mr. Evans’ extensive criminal history is of great concern to Scott and Shaw, as it is clear that he should have never been on the streets that fateful Christmas evening.
Evans, a 26-year old with a criminal history that spans 26-pages or better, was released on bail in the Shaw case and locked back up only days later on charges of CDS Possession w/Intent to Distribute and CDS Poss. Of Marijuana. Evans has more than a dozen charges and convictions spanning back to 2004, when he first turned 18, and most are related to some sort of violence.
In fact, Evans was out on bail the night he and others allegedly assaulted Shaw, awaiting a February 6, 2013 trial date for 2nd degree assault and theft from an incident that happened on September 17, 2012; and now faces three open cases ranging from assault to possession with intent.
Mr. Evans had at least sixteen different cases filed against him in the past 5-years, with charges ranging from handgun violations and robbery to first and second degree assaults and domestic violence. Most of the serious charges have either been placed on the stet docket or nolle prosequi, allowing him to plea to the lesser of the charges – which kept him out on the streets. And it is because of this track record of ineffective prosecution that has the Shaw family – and the LGBT community – worried that he will not face jail time in Kenny’s beating?
Charged with first and second degree assault, conspiracy to commit both and reckless endangerment in the Christmas night beating of Shaw; he remains the only suspect that police say will be prosecuted in the case – and the state’s attorney’s office has refused to charge Mr. Evans with a ‘hate crime’.
“Apparently Ms. Hastings dissuaded Kenny from pursuing a hate crime charge because it was ‘to tedious and long of a process’? I guess these young men’s actions – who taunted Kenny previously with homophobic slurs – doesn’t constitute a ‘hate crime’ in this town huh? Or is it the process isn’t worth pursuing if the victim is gay,” questioned Scott, who says this case should be about getting justice for all LGBT members beaten because of their lifestyle, as well as bringing some sort of closure for Shaw.
“We have too many stories of silence because as gay people, we do not feel these acts of hate crimes will be prosecuted as they should or aren’t appropriately charged; and folk are just outright scared. The elements of a hate crime are clearly present and were acted upon; however, because Ms. Hastings is seeking a quick conviction that will more than likely not result in any jail time once again for Marcus Evans, she chooses to dissuade Kenny from pursuing hate crime charges against Mr. Evans – giving Mr. Evans and his co-horts a free pass to continue their vicious hate acts against gay people, as Kenny’s beating becomes just another trophy on Mr. Evans mantle of brutality!” ~ Kinji Scott
And while Kenny Shaw hasn’t been able to go back to work in over three weeks, he continues to have to live, eat and pay booth rent at the shop he does hair. He has no means of assistance and has seemingly been cast aside by the same people who promised him justice. Yet, continuing to remain the respectful and humble young man that he is, Shaw simply seeks answers as to why he’s been cast aside like thorns.
This type of treatment, as described in the Good Book, 2 Samuel 23:6, are for wasteful and evil men; not those who are law-abiding citizens that have been victimized? “I’m not sending this email to bash or point fingers, only trying to understand my situation fully and what parts are the system playing? I’m a team player and would like to get off the bench and play my part!”
And while no response has yet to be given to the young man who stood up against the atrocities attempting to tear down the very fabric of our communities; it is as much a crime to avoid and alienate this young man who had enough guts to not only finger his assailants, but also to stand up against such ‘hate crimes’ taking a stand for an entire community of people.
The least this young man deserves is the respect and cooperation of those who are either hired, elected or appointed to serve the interests of our communities, not to be victimized all over again by those sworn to prosecute such behaviors.
“I commend Mr. Shaw for taking a stand against this crime and we should be standing with him, not dissuading and discouraging him for doing what is just,” says Scott. “He is scared, isolated and hungry, and its situations like this that dissuade other members of the LGBT community from coming forward!”
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