Connecticut gay bashing sparks protest

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 02 2002 11:00 PM ET

A Connecticut man accused of beating an openly gay guest at a Labor Day picnic was met by protesters Monday outside Derby superior court, according to the Waterbury Republican-American.

George Hamilton, 42, was in court to answer charges of first-degree assault and first-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias. An alleged accomplice, 25-year-old Brian Wendland, faces identical charges. Extra police were on hand at the courthouse as a handful of people demonstrated outside.

"We are here to show that people care and that violence and hate crimes are wrong," said David Cappiello, president of Bridges Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Organization, one of the groups on hand for the protest. "We're here today to demonstrate against hate crimes and in support of the Shelton police for their thorough investigation."

The alleged victim also has filed a $750,000 civil suit. According to the lawsuit, the victim and his partner arrived at the picnic at about 7 p.m. on Labor Day. When the man was getting ready to leave at about 10 p.m., Hamilton approached him and accused him of saying something derogatory to his daughter, according to the lawsuit. Hamilton then used an antigay slur and demanded the man leave the property, kicking and punching him and forcing him to the ground, the suit claims. The lawsuit says that Wendland then joined in the attack.