Men Sentenced To 15 Years For Using Gay Dating App For Homophobic Attacks

Nigel Garrett, 21, was given a 15 years prison sentence Wednesday for assaulting a gay man, after the Department of Justice deemed the action a “hate crime.”

Garrett admitted to acting with two accomplices to ambush a homosexual man they met on the gay social media dating site Grindr, according to a press release from the DOJ.

Garrett, Anthony Shelton, and Chancler Encalade entered the victims home with a firearm, bound him with tape and began assaulting him. They made “derogatory statements to the victim for being gay,” and stole his car, the press release states.

A grand jury had previously handed down an eighteen-count superseding indictment, against these three men and Cameron Ajiduah. The charges included were for hate crimes, kidnappings, and carjacking. They were also charged with “conspiring to cause bodily injury because of the victims’ sexual orientation” during four separate home invasions in Plano, Frisco, and Aubrey, Texas, from Jan. 17 to Feb. 7, 2017, according to the DOJ.

“Hate crimes are an attack on a fundamental principle of the United States to be free from fear of violence because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to using every tool at its disposal to combat this type of violence.”

Shelton, Encalade, and Ajiduah plead guilty to the hate crime charges and are awaiting sentencing.

“Violence, in any form, is an affront to the American principles of freedom and safety that our communities are entitled to,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “The Department of Justice has made prosecution of violent crime a priority. The Eastern District of Texas, in prosecuting this case and others like it, intends to demonstrate that this priority is something more than just a slogan.”

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