South Carolina police have arrested 5
men in connection with the April 9 attack on 19-year-old Joshua
According to the York County Sheriff's
Office, Bobby Wilson, 30, and Esskew got into a verbal altercation
outside a Rock Hill convenience store. Wilson allegedly hit Esskew
over the head with a 40 ounce bottle of beer. Surveillance video
from the store shows several other suspects running to join in the
Esskew suffered trauma to the brain
that required an overnight hospital stay.
“I believe it was a hate crime. I
believe, you know, they do not agree with my lifestyle,” Esskew,
who is openly gay, told
Charlotte, North Carolina-based NBC affiliate WCNC, NewsChannel 36.
Officials have charged the men with
assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. If convicted
they could face up to 20 years in prison.
While South Carolina does not have a
hate crimes statute, the federal government, under the direction of
the Department of Justice, is investigating whether to file
additional hate crimes charges.