Monday, January 16, 2006

Teens Arrested For Hate Crimes To Fort Lauderdale's Homeless

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By: Jeremy Swift
Homeless Voice Newspaper, Florida and The Homeless News Wire Service

When homeless individuals around South Florida go to seek shelter tonight- a refuge away from the cold weather sweeping through - they will be able to sleep with a little more ease. Thomas S. Dougherty, 17-years-old, and 18-year-old Brian A. Hooks, the two suspects captured by a security camera while attacking a homeless man, were turned in today by their families.

Captain Michael Gregory released a statement at 3:30 p.m. informing the public that the families of Dougherty and Hooks turned the teenagers over to police around 9:45 this morning. Dougherty and Hooks "They were both quiet, polite and cooperative," Gregory said. He also stated that they invoked their right to silence and the presence of an attorney.

Dougherty and Hooks are facing charges of aggravated battery for attacking Jacques Pierre, 58, and the murder of Norris Gaynor, 45. The third victim, 49-year-old Raymond Perez, who was beaten outside Church-by-the-Sea, is also believed to be another of Dougherty and Hooks doing; just one hour after Gaynor was assaulted.

The nation watched as Pierre was beaten by the two teenagers around 1 a.m., Thursday, outside of Florida Atlantic University's downtown campus with what looked to be bats. "Everyone saw the footage," Gregory said. This footage, as he notes, was also a critical piece of evidence that aided in the capture of the two males.

The authorities received more than 100 tips that led to the arrest of Dougherty and Hooks.

Sean Cononie, National Homeless Advocate on Hate Crimes towards the Homeless as well as the founder of the Homeless Voice newspaper is glad the suspects were caught. However, not only does he show empathy towards the victims and the victim's families he also shows empathy for the teenagers and their families. Cononie added, "It's a terrible time for the parents of the suspects as well as the kids." Cononie says. "I am sure these kids were not brought up by their parents to kill people minding their own business and for no apparent reason, as if there could be."

Despite the concern for all the members involved, Cononie is convinced we are dealing with a hate crime of epic proportion. "Hate crimes are on the rise for the homeless and other individuals," Cononie says. "It goes back to education and teaching correct values." In fact, because of the increase in hate crimes and terrorism, which Cononie believes are synonymous, three years ago he founded the National Coalition Against Terrorism, Inc and Stopping Hate Crimes USA to investigate why the hate exist and what can be done to dismantle the hate.

Although the accusations of the crimes committed have not been directly linked to hate, Scott Russell, a reserve officer in Ft. Lauderdale, sees unlawful death as just that.

"MURDER is the Ultimate Hate Crime!"

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