Shockingly brutal footage of an Atlanta gang beating up a local teenager who reportedly was targeted due to his perceived sexual orientation has gone viral on the Internet, but puzzled authorities say the victim has yet to come forward.
A 30-second video clip of the beating, which shows a group of men ambushing the victim and shouting gay slurs as he exits a grocery store, was posted to the website Worldstar Hip-Hop. CBS News Atlanta also included footage from surveillance cameras at the store itself, which shows a tire being thrown on the victim.
As Project Q Atlanta is noting, one of the attackers -- who is reportedly part of an Atlanta gang called the Pittsburgh Jack City Gang -- shouted "no faggots in Jack City" in the original clip. The language, and other slurs, have since been removed as part of the news broadcast.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the Anti-Violence Project, which runs the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), told The Washington Post that the footage is an “incredibly disturbing representation of the physical violence that LGBT people face every day in this country." Acknowledging the victim may not have actually been gay, she added, "This man was just walking out of a corner store, and he was attacked. It's a really tragic and clear reminder of what the reality is like for some in the LGBT community, and how senseless and incomprehensible it is that someone would attack someone just because they thought they were gay."
FBI officials say they are working to determine if the actions seen in the video violate federal law, including the hate crime statute. But, as Atlanta police told CBS, even though they have sufficient evidence that a crime took place, the victim remains unidentified. "We're hopeful the victim is going to come forward or someone will tell us who he is," said officer John Chafee.