Iowa Teen's Death a "Wake-Up Call"

Published: August 24, 2011

The brutal beating of a Waterloo, Iowa, teenager who was taunted with antigay slurs and ultimately died of his injuries is a “wake-up call” for the state, according to one local LGBT rights group.

Marcellus Andrews, 19, was taken off life support Sunday at an Iowa City hospital following severe head injuries sustained in the early Friday morning attack, which was preceded by a verbal altercation between Andrews and unknown assailants who called him “faggot,” according to witnesses.

“The language that was used during this attack is very alarming and very concerning to us,” One Iowa executive director Troy Price told Radio Iowa. “Regardless of how the investigation turns out as to whether this was a hate crime or not, the fact is there was derogatory, hurtful, and harmful language. This person was taunted for what appears to be his perceived sexuality.”

Police have yet to make any arrests in the case and said that they were not sure whether the attack was motivated by antigay animus. “We’ve heard those allegations,” Waterloo Police lieutenant Michael McNamee said. “We’re not ruling that out. We’re looking at every aspect of what went on that night. At this point, I don’t know if that necessarily has anything to do with the altercation.”

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