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CASE DESCRIPTION OF NON-LETHAL BEATINGS BY MONTH, DATE, AND CITY IN 2008:

TOTAL ATTACKS: 54

JANUARY

Monroe, Louisiana
Homeless Man Beaten and Stabbed

.  Anthony Cascio, 19, was also arrested in January for the hate crime. Cascio received a 10-year sentence, but he will only end up serving less than 11 months due to previous time spent in jail and a punishment suspension.

Akron, Ohio
Two Arrested for Assaulting Homeless Man

January 18: Maurice Elliot Willis, 24, and Heather Susan Hiner, 25, were charged with kidnapping, felonious assault and aggravated robbery on a homeless man in Akron, Ohio.  Police officers in Akron say that they and four other people tied John A. Rice, 36, to a chair on January 18th.  They burned him with a lamp and kicked and punched him, according to Lt. Rick Edwards.  Willis and Hiner were arrested and brought to the Summit County Jail.  Anna M. King, 19, Mitchell L. Collins, 29, Donald Shaffer, 26, and Andrew Worley, 24, were previously arrested for the crime.  Rice spent three days in the hospital and police say he will need continued medical treatment.

Manatee County, Florida
Homeless Man Hurt in Robbery

January 20: Joshua Joe Smith, 28, was drunk and malicious on Sunday the 20th when after trying to steal a car from D&L Auto Sales in Manatee, Florida, he tried robbing a nearby homeless man who was sleeping.  According to the Sheriff’s report, “the intoxicated suspect was found in the process of robbing a homeless man who had been sleeping on the back porch”.

Athens, Georgia
Homeless Man Attacked by Five Men

January 22: A homeless man was leaving the room he had rented in a private home in Athens, Georgia when he was attacked by five men.  Police say the homeless victim did not think that the person who rented him the room was responsible for the attack, but he did suspect that he had set it up.  The men, who attacked at 10pm on January 22nd, stole the victim’s wallet and shoes, a value totaling $105.00. 

 

FEBRUARY

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Homeless Couple Attacked During the Night

February 1: A Cambridge, Massachusetts homeless man and his girlfriend were attacked in Central Square on February 1st 2008.  The victim, 41, told police that he and his girlfriend, 33, who both stay in shelters in the Cambridge area, were walking around Mass. Ave at 12:50 a.m. when he was attacked.  He was taken to a Boston hospital for treatment.  The suspects, whom the victim won’t identify for fear of further retaliation, are described as men, aged 20-30.
           
Honolulu, Hawaii
Homeless Man Attacked in a Restroom with a Broken Glass Bottle

February 7: A 54 year-old homeless man in a restroom of a Honolulu park was attacked by a 24 year-old man who entered the restroom and kicked his shopping cart, then kicked him in the head and the side.  He came back a short time later with a broken beer bottle and stabbed the man in the face, head, and arms.  The man ran away when a bystander came into the restroom but he was arrested a short time later and is being held on a first degree assault charge.

Peoria, Illinois
Three Youths Cause Serious Head Injuries to Homeless Man

February 20: In Peoria, Illinois, officers responded to a call from employees at a McDonalds saying that a man was inside the restaurant and was bleeding from his head.  The victim, 39, was not alert, according to police, and only responded to questions when the police officers spoke loudly or shook him.  The information that the authorities managed to gather was that the man was attacked and kicked in the head by three youths, but he could not recall what the boys looked like or where the attack happened.  The man was taken to a medical center for treatment.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Homeless Man Brutally Attacked

February 25: February saw a sharp increase in homeless attacks in South Florida.  The latest attack was on Leander Williams, 68, which left him bleeding on the streets with severe head injuries.  Sean Cononie, of the Homeless Voice, and Michael Stoops, of the National Coalition for the Homeless, say that homeless people who are still on the streets should seek shelter and stay in well-lit areas until there is more information about the frequent attacks.
           

APRIL

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Homeless Men Violently Harassed with Chainsaw on Numerous Occasion

April 5: Stephen Sticht, 49, of Ft. Lauderdale Florida has been ordered by Broward Circiut Judge Julio Gonzalez, Jr. to stay away from five homeless men and to surrender all weapons to authorities.  The homeless men have complained to the police department on several occasions that Sticht chases them with chainsaws, pistols, and the homeless men believe he has put up “Wanted” posters of the men around town with captions reading “crack head, prostitute, and self-serving type.”  Sticht defends his actions, saying that the homeless men are consistently around his property and that he has tried to get them to leave the area. He says that the men are lying and making up their accusations.  “It’s a witch hunt.  These guys are crack heads.  All these allegations are fabrications.  Its like they came up with this grandiose story and now I am made out to be the bad guy.” The five homeless men claimed that Sticht walked around the area where they slept at night with a spotlight, brandishing a knife and firing a gun.  The men believe that Sticht put up the Wanted Posters because they saw him taking their photographs.  While several of the homeless men have criminal records, one of the men says “We might have colorful pasts or addictions, but we do have rights, same as [Sticht] does.”  Sticht has also been arrested for trespassing with a dangerous weapon in 1999, but the charge was reduced to misdemeanor trespassing.  Several large organizations, including the NAACP, ACLU, and Public Defender Howard Finklestein have created a coalition to try and get the Ft. Lauderdale police to protect the homeless population better.  President of the Broward NAACP, Marsha Ellison, says “surely, another homeless person doesn’t have to die before the police do something.”  The court date has been set for April 17th. 

Cumberland, Maryland 
Teens Nearly Kill Homeless Man with Baseball Bat and Knives

April 10: A Cumberland, Maryland woman responded to screams for help beneath the McMullen Bridge at 4 a.m., and ran to a nearby gas station to call the police.  When officers arrived to where a homeless man had been badly beaten, they found Benjamin Berry, 23, Brian Shafer, 20, and a 16 year-old boy nearby.  Berry and Shafer have been charged with attempted first degree murder and assault.  If the 16 year-old is tried as an adult, he will face the same charges.  A baseball bat, three knives and a steel bar were found at the scene.  The woman, according to Lt. Greg Leake, saved the homeless man’s life.  The homeless man was treated at a local hospital for severe injuries.

Cleveland, Ohio
Homeless Man Beaten with Nail Studded Board

April 12: Eugene Clemens, 55, a homeless man in Ohio, was beat by a couple males aged 19-20 with boards containing nails for five minutes and then passed out in a nearby cafeteria.  He was told by police not to submit a report because he couldn’t identify the attackers and the police couldn’t arrest anyone.  He was taken to the hospital to be treated for a broken wrist, but the gaping wounds that were also on his body were not treated and they are now infected, according to an incident report form from the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. 

Key West, Florida
Two Homeless Men Assaulted Outside Fast Food Restaurant

April 27: Two teenagers attacked two homeless men outside a Wendy’s fast food restaurant in Key West, Florida at 1:20 a.m.  One of the teenagers had a dark Mohawk, and is known on the street as “Lucky.”  The other teen has not been identified, but is thin with tattoos on his head and neck.  The two teens started arguing with the homeless men as they walked out of the restaurant, and one of the teens pulled out a knife.  The two victims were found walking down the street injured.
           

MAY

Sacramento, California
Two Homeless Men Attacked for Their Transgender Status

May 27: William Lee Johnson, 34, attacked two transgender homeless men on May 27th in Sacramento, California.  Johnson was arrested after one of his victims stabbed him in the leg, inflicting a non-life threatening injury.  According to police, Johnson is a “validated skinhead.”  He was taken to Sacramento County Jail on the suspicion of robbery, battery against a peace officer, and committing what is commonly referred to as a hate crime.

Nashville, Tennessee
Homeless Man Attacked by Teenagers

May 28: A 50 year-old homeless man was attacked by a group of adolescents, hitting him on the head with bottles.  The man lives in the Nashville, TN area and was taken to the hospital and then to the Guest House for recovery.

Waltham, Massachusetts
Homeless Man Stabbed and Rushed to Hospital

May 30: Thomas Vasile, 20, from Waltham, MA, was arraigned yesterday in district court for the stabbing of Richard Schroter, 36. Vasile claims that Schroter insulted him and his mother who were both waiting outside Labor Ready looking for work.  Schroter and Vasile knew each other before this incident, when Schroter lived with Vasile before he was evicted by his mother, according to court documents.  Schroter had serious injuries from the attack and was taken to Boston Medical Center for treatment and emergency surgery.  A knife believed to have been used during the attack was found under a parked car near the Tiki Bar entrance.  A judge ordered Vasile to go to a Bridgewater facility for 20 days and then will return to court.

 


JUNE

Bolinas, California
Interactive Homeless Man Attacked by Teens

June 23: Ricky Green, of Bolinas, California, was punched and stabbed on June 23rd by four men.  Green, 23, was attacked by the men on Brighton Avenue near the beach.  Ryan Lorne, 23, Thoren Manetta, 19, Lamont Elkins, Jr., 21, and Stefan Do, 16 were charged with attempted murder.  Police found Green after the attack; unconscious and bleeding from numerous injuries on his body.  Green was well known in the small town of Bolinas, and residents spoke of his passion for martial arts and U2 songs, which he sang during open mike nights at a local bar.  Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the attack, but they did say it did not appear to be robbery. 

Kansas City, Missouri
Homeless, Vietnam Veteran is Robbed and Attacked

June 26: Rolando Aaron and Paul W. Simmons, both 19, were charged with first degree robbery for attacking a 54 year-old homeless man in Kansas City with a brick and robbing him.  The victim, a Vietnam veteran, told authorities that he woke up Thursday morning and found someone searching through his pockets.  Six different males surrounded him and told him that it was just a “simple robbery.”  The victim stood and tried to fight them off.  The suspects hit him in the head and back using a brick.  They tried to run away in a pick-up truck, taking his cell phone, a pair of shoes and $500.  The victim jumped into the truck after the suspects and struggled with them until they pulled into a QuikTrip parking lot where he got out and phoned the police.  Officers found five of the attackers and the victim identified them, after which the two juveniles were taken to the juvenile jail.  A third suspect was released.

 

JULY

New York, New York
Teenagers Attack LGBT Shelter Residents

July 10: Four youth attacked residents at Carmen’s Place, a shelter who serves the LGBT population.  The priest who runs the shelter, Reverend Louis Braxton, reported that he returned to the shelter in Queens, New York, at about 10:30 p.m. when he witnessed a group of young people hitting a resident of the facility on the head with a bag of garbage.  Braxton shouted at the attackers and they eventually fled, but four of them returned with a paint bucket, a miter box, steel brackets and a belt.  Two residents of Carmen’s Place were punched in the face and body.  In addition to the residents, the youth attacked the priest when he told them to vacate the premises.

Elgin, Illinois
Homeless Man Beat and Stabbed by Teenagers

July 25: Four teenagers have been arrested for their involvement with a physical attack on Robert Robbins, a 22 year-old homeless man. According to the Elgin Police, “Robbins …was surrounded by the subjects, beaten and stabbed.” Arlan Stone, 17, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with great body harm, and aggravated battery on a public way. Corey Hunter, 17, was also charged with three counts of aggravated battery. Two other men were arrested on intimidation charges. Police said that the teens also threw Robbins to the ground, punched and kicked him, and then stabbed him. Robbins was brought to a nearby hospital with a gash in his back, treated, and later released.

 

AUGUST

Wilmington, Delaware
Homeless Man Attacked by Teens

August 2: An unidentified homeless man was harassed by two young men outside the Bannerman Station in Wilmington at 2 a.m. The suspects, both males and in their 20s, threw elements from flower pots, urinated on, stole $200 from, and continuously jumped on, the man. The victim was unable to identify his attackers due to the fact that he was intoxicated during the time of the assault. The police have video surveillance of the assault and are hoping that the public will be able to help identify the attackers.

St. Augustine, Florida
Three Homeless Men Beaten by Teens

August 25: Three homeless men were attacked by a group of teenagers underneath a railroad bridge at approximately 11:15 p.m. Two of the men, Andrew Christianson, 43, and Andrew Robert, 53, were hospitalized and were placed in critical condition. Robert and Christianson suffered serious head injuries after enduring many blows with a board, a shopping cart and rolled-up fencing. The third man, Michael McMeans, 31, only suffered minor injures and was able to get back to a nearby restaurant and receive help.

Police arrested 17 year-olds Jonate Anderson and Reginald Anderson and charged them with aggravated battery and attempted robbery. Both teenagers were brought to the state Department of Juvenile Justice. Police questioned two other teenagers, a 16-year-old male and a 17 year-old female who have not been charged with crimes as of now.

Scranton, Pennsylvania
Homeless Stabbing

August 26: Homeless citizens Dewy Belles, 44, and Natalie Melando, 52, were attacked by Joseph C. Saunders, 23, of 812 Capouse Ave in Scranton, Penn.  The victims claimed that Saunders had a welding knife as he approached them in front of United Neighborhood Centers’ Progressive Center.  For some time police and court officials were unable to find Belles and Melando to testify against Saunders in preliminary hearings, but finally in January 2009 the two victims were found in the Scranton area.  On February 3, jurors, “found Mr. Saunders guilty of aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault and other related charges.”  Saunders remains in Lackawanna County Prison, waiting for his sentence.   

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Gangs Attack Homeless Man

Indianapolis, Indiana
Homeless Man Experiences Severe Brain Damage Caused by an Attack

August 30: Derek Rowlette was attacked by a group of at least 10 teenagers in a bus stop around 5:30 p.m. They stole his bike and then continued to attack him. He remains in critical condition and has “severe brain trauma”. Police are still looking for the attackers and family members of the victim.

Rockford, Illinois
Teens Terrorize Homeless

August 30: Within the past month, there have been multiple attacks against the homeless in Rockford, Illinois.  The perpetrators have been described as a group of 4-6 teenagers who wait and prey on the homeless in their most vulnerable drunken and sedated states.  David Medland, 34, of Rockford noted, “Within the last month, I’ve seen about 20 people battered to a pulp.”  One of these homeless victims was Robert L. Brown, who was attacked in his sleep with blows to his temple.  His homeless companion Larry Crocker, 41, “sat in his wheelchair Monday evening outside the American Red Cross homeless shelter when he was attacked”.  Deputy Chief of Police, Michael Booker, said the homeless should walk in pairs and should report crimes when they occur.

 

SEPTEMBER

Annapolis, Maryland
6th Teen is Arrested in Attack on Homeless Man

September 5: Peter Gopshes, 34, a homeless man, was brutally attacked by a group of teenagers at about 1:15 a.m. The teens assaulted him by throwing rocks at him and punching him in the face. Gopshes lost consciousness and was robbed by his teen assailants. He also suffered multiple skull fractures and remains in critical condition.

16 year-old suspect Charles Richard Mason turned himself in to authorities. He was charged with assault, robbery and other related offenses. Police have also charged Sheldom Wells, 18, of assault and robbery. Four other boys from Annapolis, ages 12, 13, 13, and 14, and a 14 year-old boy from Baltimore have been charged for the crime.

Key West, Florida
Homeless man stabbed by two men

September 28: A homeless man was stabbed while riding his bicycle in what may have been an attempted robbery. After the attackers knocked down the victim, the victim struck back and hit one of his assailants in the face. At this point, one of the assailants pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the stomach. The victim was able to ride his bike to the hospital and recovered from surgery successfully. His attackers are still at large.

 

OCTOBER

Washington, District of Columbia
Homeless Men Beaten While Sleeping

October-November: Two separate homeless men were beaten on two separate occasions while sleeping some time during the months of October and November. One man was hit repeatedly over the head in a park and the other was accosted on a street downtown.

Pompano Beach, Florida
Homeless Veteran Robbed and Beaten

October 2: Richard Denise, 64, paraplegic was found pleading for help after receiving a beating with a board and having $94 and his wheelchair stolen from him. His attacker, a man known to the area, 35, has yet to be captured by the police. Denise received a free motorized wheelchair to replace his old one from the owner of a local medical supplies company.

Pompano Beach, Florida
Homeless Man Harassed by Teens

Oct/Nov: Timothy Creswell, 46, was awakened one night by 3 teenagers kicking him. He attempted to flag down a passing BSO deputy, but was unable to gain the deputy’s attention. He was picked up by an ambulance and transported to a hospital where he was treated for a broken leg. BSO was contacted and they did a NWR (No Written Report).

 

NOVEMBER

Portland, Oregon
Twin Brothers Terrorize Homeless Community  

November 16: On November 16th, twin brothers James and Michael Johnson were arrested and charged for 5 instances of assault against the homeless community.  Officials have recorded these instances as “five unprovoked assaults”.  The Johnson twins were accused of “pounding a man with a bicycle while he was sleeping on a park bench, and stabbing another man in the leg because he yelled at the twins to stop the beating”.  Included in the case were records of the twins, “pushing a homeless woman down a steep staircase in a city park,” and assaulting another homeless individual who tried to intervene.  The two brothers have been indicted with 2nd and 3rd degree manslaughter charges and await trial. 

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Attack Leaves Homeless Man in Hospital for Over a Month

Unnamed, the homeless individual was left with cuts on his wrist that deepened through his tendon.  In effort to recover from these horrific brutalities, the man was in the hospital for over a month.

 

DECEMBER

St. Petersburg, Florida 
Homeless Vietnam Veteran is Brutally Attacked

December 21: A disabled homeless Vietnam Veteran was beaten alongside his homeless son after attending the second annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day vigil.  William Shumate, a mentor to his homeless peers in St. Petersburg, was sleeping at city hall after the night’s memorial.  An estimated nine teenagers demanded that Shumate turn over his son’s bike as well as his own.  Shumate refused.  Subsequently the teenage group started beating him on the spot.  Shumate was struck in the face and was unable to recover.  Homeless Peoples Network reported, “By the end of the encounter, in which the teens called the two men (Shumate and his son) ‘homeless scum,’ Shumate had suffered a minor concussion, broken nose, black eye, damaged ear drum and numerous scratches and bruises”.  Reflecting on the devastating events the homeless veteran had  said, “I constantly look over my back now, when I got back from Vietnam, I never thought I’d have to look behind my back again.


CONTENTS: Main page | pdf of full report | Acknowledgements | Dedication | Executive Summary | Purpose, Methodology, and Previous Reports | Introduction | Historical Summary of Hate Crimes/Violence Data for 1999-2008 | Summary of Hate Crimes/Violence Data in 2008 | Summary of Teen/Young Adult Involvement in Hate Crimes/Violent Acts | Summary of Ages of the Accused versus Ages of the Victims | Summary of Victims Who Were Middle-Aged | Cities where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | Map of Cities where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | States where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | Map of States where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | Cities Where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred – 1999-2008 | Map of Cities Where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred – 1999-2008 | Comparison of Hate Crime Homicides vs. Lethal Attacks on Homeless Individuals | National Media Coverage of Hate Crimes/Violent Acts Against Homeless People | Video Exploitation of Homeless People | Recognizing Anti-Homeless Violence as Hate Crime, by Brian Levin | Legislation | Recommendations for Action | Model City/County/State Legislation/Resolutions | Adopted City/County/State Legislation/Resolutions | Public Education Initiatives | Listing of Incidents by City | Case Descriptions Involving Deaths | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Rape/Sexual Assault | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Setting on Fire | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Beatings | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Shootings | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Police Harassment/Brutality | Appendix A: Sources | Appendix B: NCH Hate Crimes Public Service Ads |

 

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