Teenager stripped naked and brutally beaten by gang
Police are searching for a gang of people who stripped a gay teenager naked and brutally beat him on video.
The attack took place in Muskegon Heights, Michigan against a teenager because of his sexual orientation, police said.
Police Chief Joseph E Thomas Jr confirmed that the attack took place on 4 November and that the video was uploaded to Facebook.
One suspect, Trevon Lee Godbolt, also known by Trevon Lee Taylor, was identified through analysis of the video.
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“They beat him up because he’s gay,” says Thomas.
A $500 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the investigation.
In the video, the group refer to the victim repeatedly using anti-gay slurs as he begs the attacker to “please stop”.
Godbolt replies to the victim, asking: “Why you on this gay shit?”
Towards the end of the footage, the victim is made to strip naked before being allowed to run away.
But the attackers are heard laughing and shouting “catch him”.
“We’re not going to let this go,” Godbolt says in the video.
“We’re going to hunt him down.”
The Police Chief says he suspects that one other man and two women were involved in the attack.
“We’re going to be investigating this fully,” Thomas says.
“All participants are going to have a hard time.”
The video appears to show that the attack took place on the grounds of Edgewood School, where he was allegedly lured.
Charges of unarmed robbery and unlawful imprisonment have been filed against Godbolt.
If convicted, the charges carry harsher penalties than assault, and the perpetrator could face up to 15 years in prison.
The prosecutor’s office has reviewed the case and determined it was a hate crime.
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But the state of Michigan does not criminalise hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
Thomas has liaised with the FBI on the case, and it may be picked up.
A video was sent to Thomas the morning after the attack.
“We join the community of Muskegon County in expressing our outrage over this senseless act of violence,” says a press release from the prosecutor’s office.
“We will work to protect this particular victim and any other victim that is targeted because of his or her sexual identity or orientation.”