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Teen Arrested in El Paso Gang Assault

Teen Arrested in El Paso Gang Assault

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Police in El Paso, Texas have arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with a gang assault outside a gay nightclub that left a man in critical condition, but the incident is not considered a hate crime.

According to the El Paso Times, "Police arrested the teen gang member Thursday afternoon on suspicion of aggravated assault. More arrests are expected. The teen's name was not released because he is a juvenile."

The teen is accused of participating in the assault of Lionel Martinez, 22, outside the Old Plantation nightclub early last Saturday. The victim remains hospitalized and has not regained consciousness since the attack.

Deanne Martinez, his sister, said her brother is straight and not a gang member. She drove to pick him up at the nightclub last Saturday and from her vehicle saw a group of people begin to kick, punch, and hit him with a baseball bat while she heard them yell antigay slurs.

However, according to the El Paso Times, "Police spokesman Darrel Petry said an investigation found that the assailants were gang members but that the assault did not meet the criteria as a hate crime because it was not motivated by a bias against gays. Punishment can be more severe in cases categorized as a hate crime."

The FBI is investigating the case as a possible civil rights violation, and Martinez's family said the agency told them two arrests had been made, but the FBI could not be reached to confirm that information, reports the El Paso Times.

Two of three hate crimes reported to police in the city last year involved gay victims.

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