Alex Blaze

Sheriff Says Tye Murder Probably Isn't a Hate Crime

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 11, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Arkansas, bobby mays, Marcal Camero Tye, Tyler Clementi

Joe Mirabella posted about the shooting-and-dragging murder of Marcal Camero Tye MarcelCameroTyex180.jpgearlier this week, and I wanted to point people to this interview with the Sheriff Bobby Mays who's now saying that he doesn't think it was a hate crime. He says that the dragging was an accident and that the shooting was a sexual encounter that "went wrong," as if a hate crime can't take place during or after a sexual encounter.

Also noteworthy from the interview was the sheriff saying that there's no "persecution" of transgender people in their part of Arkansas, referring to Tye with male pronouns, and said "individuals such as this" are "looking for sexual encounters" and said it was possible Tye was involved in prostitution.

He says nothing's ruled out and that it could still end up being a hate crime. The FBI also isn't investigating the situation since they don't think it was a hate crime either, according to the sheriff.

All I'll say is that I don't know what happened since I wasn't there and it's easy for us to write our own narratives on to an event, like some gays did with Tyler Clementi last year. On the other hand, it doesn't bode well that the sheriff doesn't think there's any transphobia in his part of the country while, at the same time, implying that Tye was a prostitute because that's just what "individuals such as this" are.

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Thank you for picking up on this story. The Justice Department is continuing the investigation and they have opened a civil rights case, which is the process to investigate a hate crime. As of last night they had not classified it as a hate crime, but as you note here, there are plenty of red flags to indicate that it may have been.

The local police's statement about trans people not facing hate would be laughable if wasn't so dangerously wrong in this region. The KKK is very active in this area, and that mind set is all too normal.

Kathy Padilla | March 11, 2011 4:14 PM

This is why having a hate crimes law matters - I can't speak for others - but I'm quite glad the FBI is looking into this murder. I'm not sanguine when we rely on sheriffs in conservative areas to make some judgments.

It is when a community and local official refuse to acknowledge the possibility of a hate crime in their community that there is the most need for hate crime laws and federal intervention.

Too often the actual hate crime doesn't stop at the assault or murder, but upon arrival on police who fail to perform an adequate investigation - or investigate at all. It doesn't stop there, the hate crime continues when the prosecutor doesn't prosecute or does a half ass job because of the classification of the victim. That, my friends, is the true crime.

its sad that we have another name to say in November.
yeah, this ...'officer of the law' clearly is biased from the start. if he had his way, it would be written off as a suicide and he would close the books.
IMO, if your GLBT and live in area's with similar attitudes, you should consider concelded carry. (yes, I know. guns are bad, but IMO, death is worse)

Pam Daniels Pam Daniels | March 11, 2011 11:22 PM

We should organize and make regular phone calls plus send emails every week from thousands of us, coast to coast to this sheriff until a suspect is caught and prosecuted.

I think the sheriff is a lost cause, but I wonder if there are FBI reps to whom we can voice our concern? That might be much more effective.

Mary Sloan is the LGBT representative at the Justice Department in charge of this region. Randi from Ak's equality org is working with her on this case.

Often when Crimes against LGBT get reported , the quality of the investigations is like being victimized again. I created a blog to document our journey on dealing with a system stacked against us. My blog isn't up to date. But you can get the flavor.

On March 9, at 8:38 PM I was driving up the shared drive to get my Partner for the bus from work. As I approached our neighbors truck, parked next to the drive, someone started to shine erratically, a red laser like pen like in the car at me as I drove by. It was very dissorienting, shocking and disturbing. The person was on the passenger side. I continued up the drive. After I picked up my partner, I called 911 , while in town( we live in the country) and told them that I wanted a Patrolman to meet me as I returned home. I had reason to suspect that the perpetrator would be waiting for my return. The patrolman was there and followed me to my home. My eye sight was a bit blurry. The Patrolman seemed cooperative. The next morning, we discover golf balls on our lawn. That has been going on for years, we now have a bucket of 63 of them. The golf balls always seem to correspond with calling the police or not calling them after another event. Yesterday we called the Police to report the new golf balls. The Patrolman said it was foolish to report it because it only feeds the person doing it. I told him, we have a bucket of 58 of them, have never reported it , and his logic doesn't hold up. We also told him that we have witnessed our neighbor standing at our property line , facing our home, at twilight, with what appeared to be a video camera and his response was get a camera and video him in return. Tit for tat and always come down harder on LGBT people.

We don't hide our relationship of 38 years. An officer, years ago, could not comprehend that we wouldn't lie about it. We don't hide our sexuality but we believe what scares the Police more is that we have balls to take a stand and question their authority and lack of it.
Whenever I read about these vicious Hate crimes, it doesn't surprise me that the Police are always looking for wiggle room to minimize the Hate. The reality that LGBT are easy targets only fuels the motive for Hate since the impact on the entire Tribe is minimized. That feeling of "that could have been me" doesn't get processed easily. Being in the crosshairs of Hate, does take a toll.

Anytime a person is DRAGGED TO DEATH there is hate involved! No brainer, but in this case the police there have no brains! Yes, arm yourself and kill any bastard that would try to harm or kill you! Better yet, MOVE (I don't mean to run away but come on, why do you live in such a backward place???).

Easier said than done; moving costs money, something a huge number of trans people don't have access to.

Even self-defense is easier said than done. Imagine she had killed (or even just incapacitated) her attacker first. How likely do you think it would be for a black trans woman to successfully plead self-defense in a court in that hellhole? Assuming she survives in that sheriff's jail long enough to go to trial?

I live in Memphis, a few miles from where this tragedy occurred. The mid south is a particularly tough place to live if you a trans woman of color. We have had several murders in the last few years, including one of a woman who had been beaten by two MPD officers, caught on camera, months before her death.

I understand the FBI is investigating. More needs to be done. This sheriff and others small minds like him are the reason we need national protection laws.