The victim of an assault in a
Mississippi Walmart parking lot wants police to investigate the
beating as a hate crime.
James David Scott, 23, allegedly
assaulted 26-year-old Devin Norman around 1 PM on Friday.
Corinth Police Chief Ralph Dance said
that the men argued over a Facebook post which he described as
“apparently sexual in nature.”
Scott reportedly pushed Norman to the
ground, kicked him several times in the face, and called him “faggot”
before he fled the scene on foot.
“We've heard from several people,
including the victim, that the suspect beat him up because he's
homosexual,” Dance told WTVA.
“So far, we don't have any proof that's the case.”
Scott told NBC
affiliate WMC Action News 5 that Norman had threatened to out him
by posting lewd pictures and messages between them to Facebook.
“I was screaming, and I said, 'Don't
you dare post that. Don't you dare post that on Facebook,'” said
Scott, who describes himself as a closeted bisexual. “I was in
fear for what my kids were going to think. I wasn't ready to tell
Norman said that he no longer has the
photos and was bluffing.
“I was bluffing, hoping that he
[Scott] would back away from me, because his body language was so
threatening and violence scares me,” he said.
“I'm sorry for the physical damage,”
Scott said, “but like I said before, you have no right to ruin
someone's life. You have no right to threaten to do that to
somebody. It's your right to be who you want to be; it's no one's
right to tell your business.”
Police on Monday upgraded a simple
assault charge to aggravated assault.
While Mississippi's hate crime law does
not include sexual orientation, a federal statute could apply.