Offices of statewide gay-rights group vandalized in possible hate crime

Posted on 28 Sep 2009 at 10:25am
As you can see, someone would have had to go out of their way from 12th Street to break out the window of Equality Texas' offices on 12th Street in Austin. No other businesses or residences in the area were damaged.
As you can see, someone had to go out of their way from 12th Street to break out a window at Equality Texas’ offices in Austin over the weekend. No other businesses or residences in the area were damaged.

Equality Texas’ offices in Austin were vandalized over the weekend, and the organization’s executive director said this morning that while he has no proof, there’s reason to believe the incident may have been a hate crime.

Equality Texas ED Paul Scott said someone broke out the large plate glass window on the front of the group’s offices on 12th Street sometime late Saturday or early Sunday. Nothing was stolen from inside the building and there was no damage to the contents.

Scott said he didn’t want to “overdramatize” the incident, but he suspects Equality Texas may have been singled out because no other vandalism occurred in the neighborhood — despite the presence of businesses that theoretically would have made easier targets for a random act.

Unlike other nearby buildings, the Equality Texas offices are set back a good distance from the street, and the window is several feet above the ground, he said.

“We don’t know that it was specifically targeted,” Scott said. “It’s just interesting that we were the only one.”

Scott said there’s no signage on the front of the offices, but there’s a small Equality Texas sign on a side door. While the organization doesn’t list an address on its Web site, it occasionally flies an Equality Texas flag or a gay Pride flag out front.

Scott said the perpetrator likely used something like a baseball bat or a crowbar because no object was found inside the building.

He estimated it will cost a few thousand dollars to replace the window. He said under its lease, the organization is responsible and insurance won’t pay for the damage.

Scott said Equality Texas will consider adding security in the wake of the incident.

He added that a lesbian couple reported being verbally harassed Monday morning while walking their dog in his south Austin neighborhood. Along with the vandalism, Scott said it’s a reminder that even in ultraprogressive Austin, there’s still a lot of work to do.

To make a contribution to Equality Texas to help pay for the cost of repairs, go here.

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