Police in Muskegon Heights, Michigan are conducting an intensive manhunt for a suspect who severely beat a 17-year-old boy because of his sexual orientation. Video of the attack was posted to Facebook.
“Just knowing somebody like this is walking the streets, it bothers me. It bothers me deeply,” Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph Thomas Jr. told the local NBC affiliate. “And I want to sleep well tonight, and we’re going to hunt him down, the animal he is.”
Chief Thomas told MLive that the victim was “lured” to the site of the attack. Police believe the assailant is 18-year-old Trevon Lee Godbolt, also known as Trevon Lee Taylor, and have offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
The victim begged the assailant to “please stop” as the suspect repeated, “Why you on this gay sh*t?”
The assailant then forced the victim to strip and female laughter can be heard saying “catch him” as the victim is allowed to run off.
Godbolt has been charged with unarmed robbery and unlawful imprisonment, which each carry penalties up to 15 years in prison.
“The Prosecutor’s office also reviewed a possible charge of Ethnic Intimidation (2 year felony) or some other type of hate crime, but the current statute does not cover assaults based on sexual orientation,” Muskegon County prosecutor DJ Hilson explained in a press release. “A piece of legislation (SB 121) was introduced earlier in 2017 to amend the statute to include sexual orientation however, that introduced legislation never made it out of committee.”
“I don’t get to make the laws, I just get to enforce the laws that are made,” prosecutor D.J. Hilson told the local NBC affiliate. “And we’re hoping that this will highlight the need to make change in this particular law.”