Metro Weekly

Georgia gay man finds car vandalized with anti-gay slurs and his tires slashed

Taner Bayram, an immigrant from the Middle East who has experienced anti-gay discrimination, believes the vandalism is a hate crime.

Taner Bayram, anti-gay, car, slur, vandalized
Taner Bayram — Photo: CBS 46

A Georgia homeowner says he “absolutely” experienced a hate crime after he found anti-gay slurs keyed into his car and his tires slashed.

Taner Bayram of Brookhaven, was home last Saturday night with a friend when “heard a hiss” and ran to the door, but was unable to catch the culprit in the act. 

He found his tires had been slashed, the side of his car had been keyed, and someone had scratched: “He takes d**k” with a crude picture of male genitalia, and an unfinished message reading “he has A-.” His friend’s car was similarly vandalized.

Bayram, who immigrated 20 years ago from the Middle East where he knew of LGBTQ people who were harmed for their sexuality, says he believes the incident constitutes a hate crime, not just a property crime.

“It’s a hate crime, it’s absolutely a hate crime,” he told Atlanta area CBS affiliate WGCL-TV. “Whoever it was was trying to [write] I have AIDS.”

He believes the culprit or culprits were able to get away before Bayram and his friend could reach the window to see what the noise was.

What’s even more mysterious is that Bayram only recently moved into his home three weeks ago, so he doesn’t believe he’s been around long enough to make enemies or develop suspicions about his neighbors.

A report from the Brookhaven Police Department classified the crime as having no bias motivation — which can be tough to prove — meaning it is not currently classified as a hate crime. But that could change if police obtain more evidence or identify the vandals.

See also: Arkansas lawmakers oppose “sham” bill offering vague hate crime protections after passing anti-LGBTQ bills

Brookhaven Police are asking neighbors with any information or possible security video footage to come forward. Tips can be submitted by calling the department at 404-637-0477, or submitted anonymously through the Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta hotline at 404-577-TIPS(8477).

In the long scheme of things, Bayram says he’ll be able to move on with his life, but believes the vandals carry a lot of hatred in their hearts.

“This is a little scratch for me, it shook me a little bit, but at the end of the day it’s a financial hiccup. No biggie,” he said. “In a couple weeks it’s going to be fixed but that person should be fixed.

“Hate kills. I feel sorry for them,” he added. “I forgive them but I think they have a bigger issue than my forgiveness.”

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