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No Hate-crimes Charges for Marines

No Hate-crimes Charges for Marines

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The Justice Department declined to pursue hate-crimes charges against two U.S. marines accused of knocking a gay man unconscious in Georgia this summer because they thought he winked at them. The marines will face misdemeanor charges.

Cpl. Keil Joseph Cronauer and Lance Cpl. Christopher Charles Stanzel allegedly struck Kieran Daly on a downtown Savannah sidewalk on June 12. The victim said his attackers used antigay slurs.

According to the Associated Press, "The FBI launched a preliminary investigation into whether the attack warranted charges as a federal hate crime. Stephen Emmett, spokesman for the FBI in Atlanta, said Wednesday that the Justice Department opted against pursuing hate-crimes charges after reviewing the case."

Local prosecutors decided that Daly's injuries were not serious enough to warrant felony charges. The marines' case will be heard on September 9, and they remain on duty in South Carolina, pending the outcome of the Georgia case, the AP reports.

Georgia does not have a hate-crimes law. A 1999 statute was struck down in 2004 by the state supreme court, which deemed it too vague.

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