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Lesbian Beaten, Arrested, and Targeted 

Lesbian Beaten, Arrested, and Targeted 

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A 25-year-old Alabama woman who says she was beaten outside a bar by a dozen people and then arrested claims she's being unfairly targeted because she's gay.

Laura Gilbert and a friend went to the Villa off Highway 169 in Opelika, Ala., for a night of celebratory karaoke. It was Gilbert's first time there. "As soon as we walked in the bar, I felt uncomfortable," she said. "I felt everybody staring at us, but you know, it was her birthday, I didn't want to ruin it for her."

According to Gilbert, when the pair were about to leave, they were confronted by a female patron and a fight broke out. The melee moved outside and grew to about a dozen people, including two men. Gilbert's friend called 911 and an officer arrived.

"They didn't take our side of the story," Gilbert said. "They took their side of the story, and then all of a sudden, they come up behind me and tell me to put my hands behind my back, that I'm going to jail."

Gilbert, who was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and public intoxication, was the only person from the fracas who was arrested.

Lee County sheriff Jay Jones defended the deputy's action by saying, "The arrest that took place was a result of a law enforcement officer actively and presently observing what he at that moment in time perceived to be a violation of the law." According to Jones, Gilbert and her friend were too intoxicated to be interviewed, even though deputies did interview other people who were involved in the incident, many of whom were intoxicated.

While Sheriff Jones says his department is investigating a separate claim filed by the women for their assault, Gilbert says no one has even questioned her.

Alabama's hate-crimes law does not cover attacks based on sexual orientation.

Read the full story here.

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