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5 arrested in Texas anti-gay vandalism, may face hate crime charges

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Police in Arlington, Texas, have arrested five suspects in a crime spree that included anti-gay vandalism at a lesbian couple's home.

Police are recommending that the District Attorney prosecute the five suspects under the state's hate crimes law based on sexual orientation.

During the night of June 9, 13 properties in an Arlington neighborhood was targeted by vandals. One of those 13 homes was headed by a same-sex couple, and their parked car featured a sticker showing two moms, a child and a dog. The couple found the slurs "faggot" and "queers" spray-painted in large letters on the back of their car.

Police said the correlation between the bumper sticker and the anti-gay slurs indicates that this act of vandalism was a hate crime.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, applauded the Arlington police for responding swiftly to the vandalism spree.

“It’s commendable that the Arlington PD responded to this crime so quickly and thoroughly, and that they are not turning a blind eye to the anti-LGB factors involved – in fact quite the opposite," he said.

"This is a shining example of law enforcement officials doing the right thing, and working diligently to ensure all members of the community they serve feel safe and protected. Too often, we hear stories of those entrusted to represent and protect us not acting when LGBT people are victimized. It’s particularly important to commend the APD’s actions so others can see that inaction is never an option.

"Today’s arrests should send a message to LGB people – particularly youth who may feel isolated – that there are people in their communities who will work to help and protect them,” Griffin said.

HRC complimented the leadership of Fairness Fort Worth for their pro-active efforts on behalf of the victims of these horrible crimes. HRC continues to advocate for transgender-inclusive hate crimes laws at the state level.