Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Why You Need to Be Careful What You Say During Assaults

During a physical altercation, one would assume that you have already lost control of yourself. The obvious choice is to restrain yourself and resist the urge to commit violence. But once that layer of restraint is gone, it is difficult to get it back. You might find yourself screaming things you would never dare say to another human being. Why? Because violence can bring out the worst in us. But while it might be difficult to control your words during an assault in Massachusetts, you should think carefully about what you say to the victim. The truth is that it is much easier to be charged with a hate crime than you might think.  

Group of Young Men Facing Hate Crime Charges in Salem

On April 10th, it was reported that a group of young men were facing hate crimes after assaulting another group of unnamed individuals. The attack apparently involved a toy gun that fired a "gel-filled projectile." This projectile hit one of the individuals. So, why are they being charged with a hate crime? The group reportedly targeted these individuals specifically because of their sexual orientation. It is not clear whether they were targeted because of the clothes they were wearing or some other identifying feature. 

The assumption here is that the perpetrators were yelling slurs of some kind at the victims while they drove by and fired their toy guns. It does not take much imagination to think about what these slurs might have been. It is also worth noting that the article only states that the group was attacked based on their "perceived" sexual orientation and not their "actual" sexual orientation. 

This might have been simply a case of one group of young men taunting another group with the same old name-calling all of us have heard at high school. But because an assault was involved (even if it was just a toy gun), these defendants are now facing hate crimes. The Salem Police Chief stated: 

"The Salem Police Department takes any incident of bias-related crime seriously and will investigate and charge individuals accordingly when incidents occur."

How to Defend Yourself Against Hate Crimes

You have two real options when defending yourself against hate crimes. You can either show that you did not target the victim based on their "protected class," or you can show that the underlying crime (such as an assault) never happened. In the aforementioned example, both of these options might be somewhat difficult. The assault was witnessed, and one of the victims was physically struck by the gel-filled projectile. These days, even toy guns are treated in almost the same way as real firearms when it comes to assaults. The question is whether the group was genuinely targeted due to their sexual orientation. This comes down to the specific words that were yelled at the group during the attack. 

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?

If you have been searching for a qualified defense attorney in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in the Massachusetts area. We know that these situations can become much worse when you yell certain words during assaults. While this can make it more difficult to defend yourself, you can still push back effectively with the right defense strategy. Book your consultation today to get started.