Eric Unger went to a party one night and, at about 2:30 AM he decided to leave and head home. He was walking alone when a group of men came around him from behind and one of them knocked Eric's phone out of his hand.
As many people might do, Eric asked if they had a problem.
And, apparently, that was all it took.
Eric, who is openly gay, said they began taunting him with anti-gay slurs and began to surround him, He told them he just wanted to go home, but the group--five to eight men--began to beat him, and call him all sorts of offensive names.
Eric called the police after the attack and was taken by ambulance to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center.
Eric Unger: “I don’t know why people like that go out to do that to people, to single someone out and attack them for no reason.”
He suffered scrapes and bruises on his face, and some of his teeth were broken; he also had a fractured jaw. All for walking home alone, and, i guess, for being gay.
Normal, Illinois Police Sgt. Adam Kapchinske confirmed that officers found Unger after the beating, but say no one witnessed the attack. Eric, at that time, did not mention that the believed the attack to be a Hate Crime because he was singled out as a gay man.
Eric admits that he was "frazzled" after the attack--remember, broken teeth and a fractured jaw--and may not have mentioned his belief the attack was a hate crime in a police report.
Kapchinske says fights on and around the ISU campus are common on the weekends when many students are partying and but one person being beat by such a large group is “rare.” And he says there isnm';t enough evidence to classify it as a hate crime.
Which leads me to wonder, as often happens, why would Eric Unger say the attack was motivated by hate if it wasn't? I mean, assuming he did not know the men who beat him, why would he say it was hate if it ALLEGEDLY wasn't? It seems to me he would want the people responsible for the crime brought to justice, even if they just beat him for his wallet--which they did not take--or his phone--which they also did not take.
And, it seems to me, if you're beaten, for any reason--theft, marauding brawlers, drunken college kids with nothing productive to do--you wouldn't need to call it a hate crime. It's a crime.
But, if you are called any number of anti-gay slurs before and during the beating, and you say the name-calling and the beating went hand-in-hand, then that would be a Hate Crime.
Beating Eric Unger for some misguided sense of fun, or for the purposes of robbing him is a hateful crime.
Beating Eric Unger because he's a gay man is just plain hate.