Metro Weekly

Police investigating shooting of Louisiana gay man as possible hate crime

National Black Justice Coalition is calling for a thorough investigation into McKinsley Lincoln's death

McKinsley LaKeith Lincoln, gay, Louisiana

McKinsley LaKeith Lincoln – Photo: National Black Justice Coalition.

The Alexandria (La.) Police Department is investigating the fatal shooting of an openly gay Louisiana man who was killed on May 15 as a possible hate crime after receiving pressure from a national civil rights group.

Last Friday, police responded to a report of an injured male in the area of Louisiana and Day Streets in Alexandria, and discovered the victim, later identified as 29-year-old McKinsley LaKeith Lincoln, dead from a visible gunshot wound, according to CBS affiliate KALB.

Earlier that same morning, Lincoln’s family had filed a missing persons report, noting that he had been missing for more than 24 hours. But the family said police never contacted them, and they found out about the shooting through neighbors who saw news reports and suggested that the victim may have been Lincoln.

Frustrated with the lack of proactive communication with the police department, the Lincoln family reached out to the National Black Justice Coalition.

NBJC then contacted local civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump and Jasmine Rand, as well as Louisiana State Rep. Edward “Ted” James and asked them to apply pressure on the police department in order to obtain more information about the investigation.

Within 24 hours of NBJC’s intervention, Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey Hall confirmed that the Alexandria Police Department was investigating the case as a possible hate crime. Police have not yet publicly released any information regarding any suspects or persons of interest in the case.

Local civil rights and LGBTQ activists in Louisiana are keeping tabs on the investigation to ensure it is complete, fair, and impartial.

“McKinsley is an openly gay man and was the target of harassment and discrimination,” Pamela Lincoln, McKinsley’s mother, said in a statement issued through NBJC. “The police have a responsibility to ensure justice for the people of this parish. They have not done enough to fulfill their oath. They haven’t protected and served us.”

See also: Florida gay couple shot and chased in drive-by shooting after being seen kissing

“This tragic incident should be a reminder that hate crimes against Black LGBTQ and same gender loving people happen too frequently — often without the national public outcry that our heterosexual brothers and sisters receive,” David Johns, the executive director of NBJC, said in a statement.

Johns noted that, according to the FBI, in 2018, there were over 1,500 hate crimes based on the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, an 18% increase over the number of hate crimes in 2016. He also noted that the FBI reported an 11% increase in anti-black hate crimes during the same two-year period.

“We should all be clear about the fact that hate crimes against people of every racial and ethnic category increased across the board after the 2016 elecion,” Johns added. “Trump has escalated the violence with racist rhetoric and destructive policies designed to divide and keep some of us locked out of access to opportunity. The clearest consequences of these deleterious actions are evident in these examples of vitriol, violence, and death.

Photo: Alexandria (La.) Police Department.

“The National Black Justice Coalition stands with the family of McKinsley LaKeith Lincoln in calling upon [Mayor] Jeffrey W. Hall and the Alexandria Police Department to conduct a complete and full investigation into the murder of McKinsley LaKeith Lincoln,” Johns said. “Not one member of our beautifully diverse community should experience violence, discrimination, or be murdered as a result of who we are or how we show up in the world. Each of us has a role to play in ensuring that we create a strong and inclusive community.”

Anyone who may have information about the shooting or the circumstances surrounding it is asked to call the Alexandria Police Department’s Detective Division at (318) 449-5099.

The Human Rights Campaign also issued a statement echoing the sentiments expressed by NBJC.

“Time and time again, we have seen Black people, LGBTQ people, and especially Black LGBTQ people violently killed for living their truth,” said Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative. “The Human Rights Campaign is standing with Lincoln’s family and friends in mourning today, and joins advocates and the National Black Justice Coalition in demanding a thorough investigation in this case, and into why Lincoln’s family was not informed of their loved one’s death.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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