L.A. city council members push for hate-crime charges
Los Angeles city council members on Tuesday urged the county's top prosecutor to file hate-crime charges against three men who allegedly attacked several gay men in neighboring West Hollywood. "I believe if you do the investigation properly here and properly review the evidence, only a just decision will be made, and that is to bring hate-crime charges," said councilman Jack Weiss, a former federal prosecutor. District Attorney Steve Cooley's decision not to prosecute the case as a hate crime has prompted a number of demonstrations in West Hollywood.
"I put my faith in the talented, ethical, and highly professional prosecutors who have carefully evaluated the facts of the case," Cooley said in a statement. "We cannot, as ethical prosecutors, give in to political pressure." Cooley has said previously that investigators determined the motive for the attack was robbery and not the victims' sexual orientation.
Larry Walker, 29; his brother, Vincent Dotson, 18; and Torwin Sessions, 19, all of south Los Angeles, pleaded innocent last week in Beverly Hills superior court to two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and one count each of attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Sessions was held in lieu of $215,000 bail, while Walker was jailed in lieu of $185,000. Both men have prior robbery convictions. Dotson was held in lieu of $135,000 bail. The three are due back in court November 4. The three were charged in the beating of gay actor Trev Broudy, 34, who at the time of the attack had just embraced a friend outside his home.
"We were traumatized once again when the district attorney failed to recognize the severity of this crime as a hate crime against a gay man in West Hollywood," West Hollywood councilman Jeffrey Prang said. The West Hollywood city council on Monday approved a resolution calling on state attorney general Bill Lockyer and U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft to investigate the beating as a hate crime.