Three of the four men accused in the February beating of Brandon White (pictured above) apologized before they were sentenced to 10 years — five years behind bars followed by five years of probation, Friday. Earlier in February, we reported and posted the video of the assault. After going viral (and much speculation), federal and local police started to investigate the incident.
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
“Y’all are the ultimate bullies, and you bullied somebody and you hurt him,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jackson Bedford told the defendants. “To me there is no question you did it because of his sexual orientation.”
With White looking on in the courtroom, the three defendants offered apologies for their actions.
“I am disappointed in myself because I know better and know right from wrong,” Dareal Demare Williams said.
Abt represents defendant Dorian Moragne. Co-defendants Williams and Christopher Cain got the same sentences.
“I think it was a reasonable sentence under the circumstances,” Abt said.
A fourth suspect, Javaris Bradford, 24, who allegedly taped the beating, remains at large.
The attack on 20-year-old White angered the city’s gay and lesbian community, but those same activists sought lighter sentences in the case, Abt said.
“There were a lot of people of the LGBT community that wrote letters in support of leaner sentences,” Abt said.
He said their interest in seeking a lighter sentence was a desire for “restorative justice,” that they were more interested in education about gay rights than in incarceration for the offenders.
White was attacked in front of a corner market at 1029 McDaniel St. in the southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Pittsburgh. White was not seriously injured.
Video footage of the attack came to the attention of police and the FBI when it was posted online, and it led to the arrest of three of those involved. Some believed that those responsible for the beating were the ones who posted the video.
In the days following the attack, White spoke publicly alongside neighborhood leaders.
“At first I was embarrassed,” White said Feb. 8. “But if they are willing to put it out there, I’m going to face it. I shouldn’t have to look over my shoulder just because I’m gay.”
What do you think of the sentencing? Do you feel the punishment was enough?