“Hate crimes are despicable and appalling to me and to all Lincoln residents,” said Mayor Chris Beutler. “Lincoln strives to be a community that embraces tolerance and equality. We stand united with our gay and lesbian citizens in denouncing violence directed at any group. The City of Lincoln and the Lincoln Police Department will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is done.”
- Chris Beutler, Lincoln Mayor
A south Lincoln neighborhood is shocked and sickened after a gruesome assault.
Lincoln Police responded to the 1000 block of South 22nd Street just after 4:00 Sunday morning.
Officers say their preliminary investigation is focusing on a home invasion, assault, and attempted arson.
LPD is calling it a hate crime.
LPD said two men went into the home, assaulted the woman and then started the house on fire.
Police said the suspects wrote words on the wall that are derogatory to sexual orientation.
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous told 10/11, "My neighbor was standing there and she had no clothes on her hand had been tied with zip ties and the first thing I saw was the blood running down her face."
The neighbor said the woman had cuts all over her torso, arms and face and was hysterical.
A friend described the cuts, "There were things carved on her body that can only be described as hate, that somebody can only be taught and we need to stop teaching it."
That's when the neighbor called 911 and reported the incident.
The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A friend told 10/11 Sunday night the victim is recovering, but is obviously still upset and shaken.
The neighbor 10/11 spoke with said this was done on purpose, "I absolutely think it was a hate crime and it appalls me that someone judges her on one small portion of her character."
Others at the vigil agreed this was intentional and fit the description of a hate crime.
Neighbors we talked to say the victim is a nice person who would occasionally mow other neighbors yards when she was out mowing hers or help people carry in groceries. They say she was friendly, but kept to herself and didn't bother anyone.
Friends organized a "Vigil Against Violence" Sunday at 9 p.m. on the west side of the Capitol. Word of the vigil spread quickly via social media and hundreds attended, holding candles to show support for the victim.
Police are still investigating this incident. 10/11 is not using the woman's name to protect her identity.
The Human Rights Campaign released the following statement in response to what it is referring to as "a brutal attack against a lesbian in Lincoln, Nebraska, during which home invaders bound the victim, carved anti-LGBT slurs into her skin, and set her house on fire."
“The accounts of the violence inflicted upon this woman are truly horrific,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “We have confidence that the Lincoln Police Department will thoroughly investigate this crime and take swift and appropriate action to bring the perpetrators to justice. No one should ever have to live in fear simply because of who they are. Our thoughts are with the victim and we wish her a full recovery. This act of violence is a jarring reminder that we have much work to do in creating environments where all members of our community feel safe living honestly and openly, and where crimes motivated by one’s sexual orientation or gender identity are never tolerated.”
Nebraska has a hate crimes statute that covers crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. Federal authorities also may have jurisdiction over the crime as a result of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
HRC is alerting both the FBI and the Justice Department to this crime.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
A fund has been set up for the assault victim, who does not have health insurance. You can donate by visiting www.starcitypride.org, just click the link below.