About 150 people gathered Sunday to
protest the beating of a gay man at the hands of a marine in Savanna,
Morning News reported.
The rally was held at Johnson Square
near where Kieran Daly was struck on Saturday, June 12.
At about 4AM, Savanna police arrested
and booked two marines on a misdemeanor charge of battery. The men,
both stationed at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., were
later released to Marine police, who are also considering charges.
The FBI has reportedly launched a preliminary investigation into
whether federal charges as a hate crime should be pursued in the
Responding to a call, police found
26-year-old Daly laying motionless on the ground as friends performed
first aid. Witnesses said Daly was attacked because he is gay.
Moments earlier, police had witnessed
two men matching the description of the attackers running on Congress
Lane. According to a police report, officers caught up with Keil
Joseph Cronauer, 22, and Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23, after they
had climbed into a fenced-off parking lot off Congress Lane.
Cronauer told police they “were being harassed by a white
homosexual male earlier in the evening and just wanted to get away
and meet their friend on Bay St.” But Stanzel said “he was going
to meet a friend on River St.”
Witnesses told police that one of the
men grew angry because he thought Daly was winking at him. He struck
Daly in the back of the head with his fist, knocking him unconscious.
Daly claims his attacker yelled
anti-gay slurs at him as he tried to walk away from an argument with
Cronauer over whether Daly was coming on to the marine.
At the rally, Kevin Clark, who heads
the Savannah chapter of Georgia Equality, said the attack was only
the latest in a long string of violence against the LGBT community.
“It's important to realize the attack
on Kieran was not the only one,” Clark said. “There have been
many, many, many more.”
Daly, who did not attend the rally but
said he was grateful for the support in a statement, was diagnosed
with bruises to the brain and suffered seizures from the attack.
Doctors have advised the truck driver not to return to work. Daly is
expected to meet with Savannah police Monday for a second interview.