Tag Archives: attack

3 charged in hatchet attack on transgender woman

Charlotte, North Carolina, police say they’ve charged three people in a hatchet attack on a transgender woman.

Ralayzia Taylor tells local media she was attacked Nov. 7 in a park.

She thinks the group wanted to rob her and intensified their attack after they realized she’s transgender.

The 24-year-old Taylor says one attacker cut her with a hatchet and they used gay slurs.

The FBI says it is working with Charlotte police in the investigation.

The Mecklenburg County Jail website says 18-year-olds Dajion Tanner and Destiny Dagraca face charges including attempted first-degree murder. Police say a 15-year-old also was arrested.

It wasn’t clear if they have attorneys.

North Carolina is in the midst of a fight over LGBT rights after the state passed a law limiting where transgender people can use the bathroom.

Sharp drop in inspections lets Wisconsin polluters off scot-free

Balancing environmental sustainability and commercial development is not easy. In fact, it’s one of the thorniest issues that elected officials face. New development is critical to the state’s economy, but our natural resources are also vital to the economy, as well as our health and quality of life.

Environmental and commercial interests don’t have to be at odds. Development can — and often is — handled in sustainable ways. Still, in cases in which the two interests cannot be reconciled, the environment must be given primary consideration. Development is generally transient (look at Detroit), but our natural resources are impossible to replace. Just think of the thousands of extinctions that have been caused by habitat loss.

Under Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s Republican leadership, the environment has been under constant attack, even though support for sustainability is strongly bipartisan. The moneyed interests, as represented by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, fossil fuel companies and the real-estate industry, have gradually gained the upper hand since Wisconsin came under one-party rule in 2011.

Instead of abiding by the state’s strong environmental protections, which were created with input from evidence-based science, Wisconsin’s ruling majority overturned them. When scientists at the Department of Natural Resources presented inconvenient truths about the effects of industrial projects, such as mines, on our air and water, Walker got rid of the scientists.

Wisconsin’s Republican leadership also has dramatically reduced enforcement of environmental regulations that continue to exist. They simply took the teeth out of regulations they couldn’t eliminate.

Data reported earlier this spring by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation shows the extent to which this has happened. The federation obtained figures tracking forfeitures the state Justice Department collected between 2006 and 2015 for infractions involving air and water pollution, farm animal waste and hazardous waste.

The data showed that fines for environmental violations were the lowest in 2015 for any year since 1986. Last year’s environmental fines also were 86 percent lower than the 10-year average of nearly $2.2 million a year, and 78 percent lower than the nearly $1.4 million fines in 2014.

Even unofficial “warnings” issued to illegal polluters dropped 55 percent in 2015, from an average of 516 notices per year to just 233.

Walker has said that declines in the number of violations and fines are positive signs that the DNR is working with businesses and the public to avoid environmental problems.

But neither George Meyer, a former longtime DNR secretary, or Kerry Schumann, executive director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, are buying Walker’s spin. They say it’s not possible that actual environmental violations could have dropped 80–90 percent in just one year.

More likely, Meyer says, there are fewer DNR inspections being carried out due to agency staffing and budget cuts, a lack of follow-up by the DNR on violations that it does discover, and reductions in the prosecutions for environmental violations handled by the state Department of Justice.

WLCV says very few polluters pay penalties, even when they’re caught. Instead, they’re getting off scot-free.

WLVC recently put out a statement stressing its commitment to exposing Walker every time his administration fails to enforce a law meant to protect Wisconsinites, and WiG will continue to highlight his failures. That exposure must prompt us to react by putting pressure on the administration and our state representatives to enforce our air, water and public health laws.

Ultimately, the future of our natural resources depends on us.

Republican lawmakers target voter registration drives in Wisconsin

The Republican-controlled State Senate may consider legislation as early as Feb. 9 that would effectively undermine organized voter registration drives in Wisconsin.

Last week, on a 3-2 party-line vote, Republicans on the State Senate Elections Committee approved Senate Bill 295, along with an “11th-hour” amendment authored by the committee’s chair, Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg. Among other things, SB 295 would allow (some) Wisconsinites to register to vote online, but would eliminate “the authority to appoint and use special registration deputies.”

While we vigorously support online voter registration, we do not support this version or this legislation.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and many other good government groups in Wisconsin, oppose Senate Bill 295 in its present form as well.

The GOP proposal allows only those with a Wisconsin drivers license or state-issued ID access to the online system. As a result, those individuals less likely to have those forms of ID (minorities, the elderly, low-income persons, and students) — the very people most likely to be served by special registration deputies — will be left out in the cold, having far fewer options to be able to register to vote.

This legislation would make Wisconsin the only state in the country to offer online voter registration at a cost that outweighs the benefits of instituting such a system.

Currently, special registration deputies are appointed by a municipal clerk to register fellow citizens at many venues within their municipality. You will often see SRDs during election season at libraries, community centers, nursing homes, farmer’s markets, outside of banks, at supermarkets, and on college campuses. The success of voter registration drives — conducted by groups like the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Voces de la Frontera, and the American Association of University Women — hinges on the SRD’s authority to register voters.

SRDs have been registering voters in Wisconsin for more than 40 years without any problem whatsoever, and there is no valid reason to eliminate them.

Please help us stop this latest attempt to make it harder for thousands of Wisconsinites to be able to register and to vote. Call or email your state senator and urge your senator to oppose SB 295! If you don’t know who your state senator is, go here.

German gay rights activist beaten, suffers brain injuries

A German gay rights activist suffered life-threatening brain injuries from a beating in Belgrade, Serbia on Sept. 13.

Authorities said they arrested three people suspected of being involved in the attack on the man, who was attending a gay rights conference in Belgrade.

A spokesperson for an LGBT group in Europe said the attack took place early on the Saturday morning, and that a group of young men beat the man with a glass ashtray. The spokesperson also said the assailants shouted about foreigners.

The man suffered internal bleeding and head injuries that news reports described as serious.

Far-right groups have long promoted anti-LGBT violence in Serbia, where the government has repeatedly vowed to protect human rights in its requests to join the European Union.

The most recent violence led to a pro-LGBT demonstration in Belgrade.

Plan for Wausau Pride parade draws critics, raises questions from community

March for Equality scheduled for June 22

A pink flyer is circulating in Wausau promoting the “first-ever” gay Pride parade in the Wisconsin city.

The parade has generated harsh criticism from the Christian right and an elected official, but also enough questions from the local LGBT community about the event and the identity of the organizer that a second march has been scheduled.

At a recent meeting, Wausau Ald. David Nutting encouraged people to turn their backs on the parade, according to the progressive blog bluecheddar.net.

Nutting, during the public comment portion of a city meeting on June 12, said, “I represent an overwhelming majority of District 3 residents who oppose allowing a parade of deviant-behaving individuals to be escorted by public law enforcement members through the very heart of our family-oriented city to a beautiful family-oriented public park where no doubt their choice of indecent behavior will be on full display for influential children and the media to proclaim it worldwide.”

He continued, “This isn’t speech. This is behavior. I ask that all residents stay away from the parade or if you do go, stand with your back to the parade of deviant-behaving individuals.”

Also in the critics’ corner is the Wisconsin Family Action, the ultra-right organization that is challenging the state’s domestic partnership law in court. WFA has urged its members to contact the mayor and city council members to object to the scheduled downtown parade.

“Our experience with homosexual parades is that they’re nothing more than a display of immorality and propaganda,” stated WFA president Julaine Appling. The statement did not detail her “experience.”

She added, “This Wausau group is specifically targeting teens, which sends exactly the wrong message to our young people. The citizens of Wausau need to let their elected officials know their opinion about this parade.”

The WFA stated, in an action alert, that “a California man (who owns property in Wausau) is putting $15,000 of his own money into a so-called ‘gay pride’ parade.”

To others, it’s unclear who is organizing the Pride parade.

The WFA based its information on a May 9 report in the Wausau Daily Herald that identified Daxx Bouvier as the parade organizer. The story said Bouvier lives in Calabasas, Calif., and spends several weeks in Wausau, where he owns property. The Herald quoted Bouvier as saying, “It’s long overdue. There are a lot more people in the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Wausau than people realize.”

Bouvier told the Herald he has invited openly lesbian U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., to the parade and the newspaper reported that members of a gay-straight alliance club planned to march.

The city approved a permit for the parade earlier this spring, but more recent attention to the march raised questions about the organizer. City officials have said that Bouvier was not the individual who dropped off the paperwork for the permit and that a fee is still owed and proof of insurance must be provided.

WiG, as of June 14, had been unable to locate Daxx Bouvier.

A blog profile for a “Daxx Bouvier” stated, “Daxx Bouvier resides in Beverly Hills, CA and Granite Peak, WI born in June(year unknown) adopted at the young age of 4, world traveller and philanthropist, best known for his lavish parties and support of animal rights with a net worth estimated at $60 million dollars working on his memoirs and creating his own fragrance as well. No occupation history.”

Bouvier’s parade, in addition to the flyers, is advertised on Craigslist. The notice on the online site referred to Daxx Bouvier Productions as the promoter, announced a festival at the end of the parade and provided the names and contact information for two men.

But those men say they have nothing to do with a parade. One of the men, in a phone interview with WiG, said Bouvier listed him as a contact to “mess with my relationship with my fiancé.” He also said Bouvier’s claims of wealth are outrageous.

Meanwhile, to guarantee a celebration, local activist Shannon Thomas of One Girl Creative is organizing a March for Equality, set for the same time and the same location as Bouvier’s Pride parade.

Thomas said the march will take place at 3 p.m. on June 22 at Marathon Park and proceed to the 400 block park in downtown Wausau. She said there had been concern in the community that Bouvier’s Pride parade might be a hoax but she was really motivated to action after statements from Nutting, who has said that city police shouldn’t provide any protection for LGBT paraders.

Thomas began organizing the march but, because of the date, she cannot secure a city permit. So the walkers will take the sidewalk path from park to park, rather than marching in the street.

By about noon June 14, more than 100 people had committed to attending the March for Equality on a Facebook events page. And the march could help launch a larger event in 2014.

Thomas also is organizing a smaller party, Heart of Wisconsin Pride, in Wausau in August.

On the Web…

The March for Equality.


2 arrested in Russia for anti-gay fatal beating

Russian investigators say a 23-year-old Russian man was fatally beaten by his companions after he came out as gay.

Authorites have arrested a former schoolmate of the victim and another man in connection with the killing, which happened on May 10.

The RIA Novosti news agency on May 13 quoted an investigator in the southern city of Volgograd as saying that one suspect confessed that he and the other suspect decided to haze the victim by sending him home naked, but they “decided not to stop there.”

The victim’s injuries were so severe, including injuries to his genitals, that at first he could not be identified.

His name, according to The AP report, was not officially released.

Activists identified the victim as Vladislav Tornovoi and local media reported that his attackers sexually assaulted him with a beer bottle and set fire to his body.

In Russia, elected officials have contributed to intense homophobia. Parliament there has voted, on the first reading of a bill, to make it a crime to disseminate “homosexual propaganda.”

Activist Nikolai Bayev, a gay rights activist, posted on one website, “President Putin, crush the head of Vladislav Tornovoi! Strip him until he’s naked. Brake his ribs, beat his face and shove a bottle up his anus. Kill him, he’s just a gay.”

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

Two men arrested for anti-gay assault in NYC early Friday

Two men were arrested in connection with the beating of two gay men in Manhattan early Friday and police are investigating whether there is a link to an earlier anti-gay attack in the same area near Madison Square Garden.

Friday’s attack happened at 5 a.m. after two gay men tried to enter an after-hours billiard club and were denied entry, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The two were approached by a group of about five men who shouted anti-gay slurs and beat them, Coleman said.

He said the gay men tried to flee but the attackers followed them to the entrance to the 33rd Street PATH station, where Port Authority officers saw the assault and broke it up.

Several of the attackers fled but officers arrested two suspects.

Asllan Berisha and Brian Ramirez, both 21, were arrested on charges of felony assault as a hate crime. No information on attorneys for the suspects was immediately available.

Coleman said both victims suffered severe facial injuries and were treated at Bellevue Hospital, where one victim underwent eye surgery. Their names were not released.

The earlier attack happened a few blocks away on Eighth Avenue near 34th street. Police said four men yelled anti-gay slurs at two men, pushed them to the ground and began punching one of them in the face.

No one has been arrested in the earlier attack. Police are trying to determine of the two attacks are linked.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the city’s highest elected gay official, said she was outraged at the anti-gay attacks.

“These vicious assaults are not reflective of the diversity that defines New York City,” Quinn, a Democratic mayoral candidate, said in a statement.

Archbishop: Church must fight gay marriage but not attack gays

The archbishop of New York says the Roman Catholic Church has to make sure that its defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gays.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan says the church hasn’t “been too good at that” and could work on being more welcoming to gays and lesbians.

He says the church tries its “darnedest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody.”

Dolan made the remarks Sunday on the ABC News program “This Week.”

His comments came days after the Supreme Court heard arguments in two same-sex marriage cases.

Dolan says he would tell gays and lesbians that God loves them and they’re entitled to friendship. But he says marriage is a union between a man and a woman “where children can come about naturally.”

Dolan made similar comments on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Alabama teenager arrested for bomb plot

Authorities have arrested an Alabama teenager – a self-described white supremacist – for allegedly plotting to blow up classmates and a teacher.

The defense attorney for 17-year-old Derek Shrout says the accusations have been blown out of proportion.

Shrout faces a charge of attempted assault and authorities allege that he planned to use homemade explosives in an attack against others at Russell County High School in eastern Alabama.

The Associated Press reported that Russell County, Ala., Sheriff Heath Taylor said the teen first wrote about his plan in a journal three days after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

A teacher found the journal, which contained the names of six students and a teacher and talked about the ammunition and weapons needed to attack the school.

In the teen’s home, authorities found several tobacco cans, two larger cans with holes drilled in them and containing pellets, black powder and fuses. Shrout’s father also owns several firearms, including a hunting rifle, shotgun and handgun, according to AP.

The sheriff said he did not believe the teen’s initial claim that his journal writing was fiction.

But Shrout’s attorney told the AP that publicity around the case so far was “blown a little out of proportion” and that his client did not intend to harm anyone.

Report: Lesbian beaten by girlfriend’s brother on Thanksgiving

A Change.org campaign is urging authorities in Mobile, Ala., to prosecute as attempted murder an attack on a lesbian attending Thanksgiving dinner with her girlfriend’s family.

Mallory Owens, 23, was invited to the home of her girlfriend’s family to celebrate Thanksgiving on Nov. 22. Details of what happened were not immediately available, but various activists websites allege that Owens was severely beaten by her girlfriend’s brother, Travis Hawkins Jr.

Taken to the USA Hospital in Mobile, Owens suffered a fractured skull, a crushed cheekbone and a brain bleed.

Hawkins was arrested on Nov. 25 for second-degree assault in the incident. He has been released on bail.

Petitioners on Change.org want the Mobile County, Ala., District Attorney Ashley Rich to upgrade the charge.

The petition, one of several circulating on the Web, states, “Mallory was an invited guest Thanksgiving Day to her (girlfriend’s family) dinner & brother, Trais Hawkins Jr. has been arrested, charged and released on bail for ONLY 2nd degree assault! Mallory had experienced a brain bleed, reconstructive facial surgeries, (metal plates due to crushed cheek bones), and skull fractures! This at best was an attempted murder! Mallory deserves justice for the horrific attack & by the Grace of God her long road to recover! It is reported that the accused attackers family stood by, did not intervene, and have threatened the victim family!”

Fox News reported that in 2011 Hawkins Jr. was shot by his father.