Friday, March 30, 2007

Alleged Beating of Elderly Homosexual Man Proven false

Death used to promote hate crimes. Religious conservatives blamed...

From "Alleged beating of elderly homosexual man proven false" by Allie Martin and Jody Brown, posted 3/29/07, at

Authorities in Michigan say a case last month involving the alleged fatal beating of an elderly homosexual man, which was used to promote the need for "hate crimes" legislation, was not a crime after all. A medical examiner's report confirms that the man died of natural causes.

Detroit police were told that 72-year-old Andrew Anthos had been assaulted because of his same-sex preference. According to family members, Anthos said he was riding a city bus home on February 13 when a young man asked him if he was homosexual. The man reportedly followed him off the bus and struck him in the back of the head with a pipe. Anthos died in a Detroit hospital on February 23.

Anthos' death generated numerous stories labeling the reported attack as a "hate crime" -- with headlines such as "Detroit patriot clings to life after hate attack" (, 2/23/07), "Police seek man in hate crime death" (Detroit News, 2/24/07), and "Detroiter in hate-crime beating dies" (Detroit Free Press, 2/25/07). And in early March, the case was cited by U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) as evidence of the need to extend so-called "hate crimes" legislation to homosexuals. The Free Press also notes that the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Matt Foreman, "implicated religious conservatives" after Anthos' death.

But authorities have been unable to identify any witnesses to the alleged beating. And Wednesday, the Wayne County medical examiner concluded that Anthos death was the result of a degenerative natural condition called "spinal stenosis," which typically develops and worsens over a period of years, rather than a criminal assault.

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