CRIME

Sandy police arrest teen on hate crime charge after he allegedly punched a gay teen

Jul 31, 2022, 6:28 PM | Updated: Aug 1, 2022, 10:06 am

SANDY, Utah — A gay teen is recovering from a possible concussion after Sandy police said he was the victim of a hate crime this weekend.

Officers arrested a 17-year-old on Saturday as he’s accused of assault with a hate crime enhancement.

Jocelynn Peacock, the victim’s sister, said the confrontation started late on Friday night, around midnight. Her 17-year-old brother was not far from his own front door with his boyfriend.

“They were out front of the house talking and they were just hugging each other goodbye and saying goodbye for the night,” she explained, “and that’s when those boys drove by.”

The group of teenage boys drove by once, yelled homophobic slurs and then returned about 45 minutes later to attack, Peacock said.

“I didn’t see the punch, but I heard it, the scream afterward, and that’s why I came running out.”

She said her brother has a “busted lip and gums.” Paramedics checked him out and believe he may have a concussion. He’s still dealing with memory loss.

The victim’s mother told KSL TV that he is in the ER because of extreme headaches, memory loss and wanting to sleep constantly.

Within hours, she managed to track down the teen who threw the punch after posting on social media.

“I ended up going to their house and was like, ‘Um, do you know your son did this?’” Peacock recalled.

“And she was like, ‘No, he wouldn’t do that. He would never do that.’ Well, he did. Then, the other boy who actually hit my brother came to the house and talked to us and police were on scene and he got arrested.”

Sgt. Greg Moffitt with the Sandy Police Department said the case will be handled by the juvenile justice system. The hate crime enhancement makes the crime a class A misdemeanor, which could include jail time, he explained.

“This actually fits in as a hate crime. When you’re targeting someone’s sexual preference, their religion, the color of their skin or ethnic background, those all can be considered a hate crime, Moffitt said.

The sergeant said some hate crimes go unreported, but he stressed his department’s commitment to the victims.

“If you are a victim of something that’s targeted as a hate crime, we’re going to take it serious,” he said. “There’s absolutely no room for it.”

Peacock is pleased with the outcome and hopes the teen has learned his lesson.

“It’s just sad. It’s 2022, you know. We should love everybody for who they are.”

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Sandy police arrest teen on hate crime charge after he allegedly punched a gay teen