Plano police say they’re treating city’s 1st-ever anti-gay hate crime as ‘high-priority case’

Plano Sports Authority

Plano police still have no suspects in what they’re now calling the city’s first-ever anti-gay hate crime.

David Tilley, spokesman for Plano police, said the department is treating the attack as a “very, very high priority” and reaching out to media outlets after Dallas Voice first reported the incident last week.

The assault involved two black men between the ages of 17-25 attacking and beating an 18-year-old with a gun outside the rec center on Sunday afternoon, May 26, after the teen defended his two female friends from anti-gay comments by the suspects. One suspect had orange highlights in his dreadlocks and a tattoo on his left forearm, characteristics Tilley said he hopes someone will recognize.

Tilley said recent surveillance footage revealed the cameras at Plano Sports Authority were not working when the assault happened. He said police are knocking on doors and asking for the public’s assistance to identify the men.

“At his point, we’ve just been knocking on doors, talking to people, trying to find somebody to identify this,” he said. “We’re working pretty hard on it. … This is a very, very high-priority case for us and we’re trying to get this thing solved and get these individuals off the street and in custody as soon as we can.”

According to FBI reports posted online, the incident was the first reported anti-gay hate crime in Plano since at least 2005. In a CBS 11 story, Tilley said the assault is the first reported anti-gay hate crime in Plano history.

Tilley is also quoted as saying that police are pursing the hate crime designation for the incident even though aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is already a first-degree felony and cannot be enhanced under Texas’ hate crime statute.

Anyone with information about this case can contact police at 972-424-5678, or call 972-941-2148 to make an anonymous tip.

From CBS 11:

“The whole point of the hate crime is basically for an enhancement, because it takes one particular charge and enhances is up to a higher level. There’s really nowhere to go with this because it [Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge] already is a first-degree felony,” he said. “We believe these individuals committed a bias-motivated crime, which is a hate crime and because of that we want to investigate it that way, regardless of whether there’s gonna wind up being any enhancement.”

Officer Tilley said there’s another reason for the hate crime designation, “We want to make sure that everybody understands we are not gonna accept bias-motivated crimes in our city.”

—  Anna Waugh