Amazon employee who attacked coworker says ‘people who are gay should expect to be assaulted’
An Amazon employee has been convicted of assaulting a co-worker for being gay.
James William Hill has admitted to attacking the unnamed man at the Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Virginia, in May 2015.
Hill, 36, told police that he disliked LGBT people, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s office told local station WTVR-TV.
He also said that “people who are gay should expect to be assaulted because of their sexual orientation.”
Hill was found guilty of breaking the Matthew Shepard Act of 2009, meaning that his assault is now classified as a hate crime based on the victim’s sexual orientation.
A district court judge dismissed the case in 2016.
The prosecution appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the initial ruling and sent it back for trial.
Hill now faces up to 10 years in prison.
A verdict was reached as it emerged that anti-LGBT violence had reached unprecedented levels in the US last year.
There were 52 hate-related homicides of LGBT people in 2017, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programmes.
This represented a huge 86 percent increase from 2016.
The report’s authors wrote that “for too long, legislators have not taken meaningful or effective steps to address the increase of hate violence in this country.
“We ask that people call their representatives and ask them what they will do right now to proactively address hate violence and ensure that their communities are safe and affirming for LGBTQ people.
“The time for addressing this crisis of violence is now.”
GLAAD and The Harris Poll found that less than half of adults – 49 percent – reported being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across seven situations.
This was a decline from 53 percent last year, and the first time the Accelerating Acceptance report has shown a drop in acceptance for LGBTQ people.