Mississippi Refused To Charge The Bigot Who Did This With A Hate Crime, Then Social Media Stepped In (IMAGES)

A social media campaign has forced the District Attorney of Corinth, Mississippi to reverse a decision not to pursue hate crime charges against an attacker who brutally beat a gay man while calling him a “faggot.”

26-year-old Devin Norman was confronted by 23-year-old James David Scott and assaulted in a Walmart parking lot at around 1 p.m. on Friday. Reports said that Scott stomped on Norman’s face repeatedly and called him a “faggot” during the attack.

“I think that it’s a travesty that there’s an entire segment of abuse that’s just swept under the rug,” Norman explained to WMC. “Yes, his assault…was simply because of who I love.”

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Norman after the attack (Image via Twitter)

In apparent efforts to confuse matters, some sources claimed the incident was prompted by Norman threatening to “out” Scott with private text messages and photos of a “sexual nature” between the pair. Norman refutes this, insisting the pictures are no longer in his possession, and that he issued the threat only in last-ditch efforts to prevent the assault.

“I was bluffing, hoping that he would back away from me because his body language was so threatening, and violence scares me,” he told WMC.

Police originally charged Scott with simple assault, and later upgraded this to aggravated assault – but Norman called on police to charge the attacker with a hate crime.

Officials in the District Attorney’s office declined, stating insufficient evidence to apply the charge. Mississippi currently has no state law protecting LGBT people from hate crimes, so prosecutors would have needed to charge Scott under federal hate crime laws.

A post about the attack went viral on Facebook over the weekend, and friends launched a GoFundMe campaign, “Justice For Devin,” to help with medical and other expenses. They also staged a rally outside the Walmart.

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Protesters rally at Walmart (Image via Twitter)

The GoFundMe campaign states:

“Devin Norman is a rockstar in our small town in MIssissippi,”

“Everyone knows him and everyone loves him, so we were shocked and completely heartbroken when he was brutally attacked in a Walmart parking lot. He was completely defenseless as his cowardly attacker relentlessly beat him for being gay. … Nobody should ever feel this way or be treated this way. Violence is not the answer — love is!”

By the end of Sunday, a social media campaign was launched inviting people to get in touch with District Attorney Trent Kelly and demand that hate crime charges be made against Scott.

A petition was also added to the White House website calling for President Obama to “force” Kelly to classify the attack as a hate crime.

The campaign clearly had an impact.

The DA has declared that the decision against pursuing hate crimes charges was premature, and announced further investigations so that if further evidence is made available then charges can be filed.

Featured Image via Twitter