SAN FRANCISCO — Violent crimes and other hate incidents against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are consistently not reported and prosecuted because of chronic distrust between the LGBTQ community and police.
Nearly 300,000 crimes may have been committed against people across the United States because of their sexual orientation from 2012 to 2016, according to a News21 analysis of data from the federal National Crime Victimization Survey, which tens of thousands of American households fill out each year.
“There are people that are hurting right now who don't trust the police and also don't feel comfortable coming forward or speaking up,” said Sheryl Evans Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. “Until we have an increase of people reporting things, then we could be doing (more). We're still not really doing enough for them.”
U.S. Department of Justice documents for the relatively few federally prosecuted hate crime cases since 2009 tell stories of beatings, robberies, slurs, profanities and fatalities targeting LGBTQ individuals.
Steven Nelson, a 49-year-old gay man, died in an Idaho hospital hours after being lured into the woods by an online ad for a sexual encounter in April 2016. His attacker, Kelly Schneider, repeatedly kicked him with steel-toed boots while yelling homophobic slurs, then stripped and robbed him.
David Beltier and his boyfriend, Jeremy Mark, were walking their pink-dyed poodle, Beauty, in Hillsboro, Oregon, when George Mason got out of his car and beat Beltier with a metal tool while yelling gay slurs in March 2013.
Three gay men were walking through a Seattle neighborhood in January 2015 when Troy Deacon Burns began to tail them, shouting homophobic slurs and eventually threatening them with a knife and attempting to stab one of them.