A Tennessee man has been arrested and charged with assaulting a gay man in Murfreesboro, reports the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
Brandon Wiley, 24, of Lewisburg, has been charged with aggravated assault with a hate crime enhancement in the case. If found guilty, he could potentially face additional penalties or time in jail as a result.
Police say they responded to the parking lot in front of a local bar in Murfreesboro around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. There, they found a man, severely beaten, laying on the ground.
The 39-year-old victim suffered multiple severe facial injuries, including a broken nose and fractured orbital sockets. He was transported to a local hospital and treated for his injuries.
A security guard for the building told police that he saw the attack while driving past the area on patrol. After seeing Wiley punch the injured man, the security guard said Wiley approached his car and told him the man had “grabbed his junk and molested him.”
The victim later told police that Wiley beat him up because he “propositioned” him.
Police say that Wiley allegedly “sent out several photos of himself covered in blood and was bragging about beating up a gay man for ‘grabbing’ his penis.”
Police say Wiley admitted to striking the victim, but video of the incident, as well as documented “earlier activities between Mr. Wiley and the victim” were inconsistent with his statement.
Wiley has been released on bond and is due back in Rutherford County General Sessions court on Aug. 28.
Tennessee does not have any law explicitly preventing juries or judges from taking “gay panic” or “trans panic” — the idea that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity was so upsetting that it made the perpetrator of an assault fear for their safety — into account when considering whether a defendant’s physically violent response may have been provoked or justified.