Gay teen attacked by mob gets assaulted again, police say | Crime
ROCK HILL - A gay teenager who was beaten by a mob of men at a gas station has been assaulted again, according to Rock Hill police.
The beating of 19-year-old Joshua Esskew made national headlines last month after he was beaten by at least eight men at a Rock Hill gas station and the attack was caught on tape. Esskew called the attack a hate crime, saying someone yelled a gay slur at him before the attack.
Five men were later arrested for that attack and were charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, a felony charge. If convicted, each of the suspects could receive a sentenced up to 20 years in prison.
Previous article: 5 men charged in mob beating of gay teen
According to a Rock Hill police report, Esskew, who is now 20-years-old, was assaulted again early Sunday morning outside a Bi-Lo grocery store at 1735 Heckle Boulevard.
Esskew told officers that he was "walking from his vehicle to the entrance of the [store,] when an unknown female yelled [a gay slur] at him." Officers say Esskew turned around to look at who yelled at him and said "Excuse me?"
According to the report, Esskew told officers that he exchanged words with a man inside the vehicle and then walked to the Bi-Lo entrance, when he was pushed from behind by one of the people.
Esskew was not injured in the assault.
The night manager of the Bi-Lo told officers that he witnessed a verbal exchange between Esskew and pair, who "appeared to be extremely intoxicated and were acting belligerent." The manager was able to get the license plate information from tan 2001 Mercury Sable as it was leaving the parking lot.
Sheriff's deputies from the York County Sheriff's Office went to the home listed for the plates, but were told they had moved out a month prior.
After the first assault in April, two South Carolina lawmakers told WBTV they were working to pass a hate crime bill in South Carolina. York County representative John King has reintroduced a bill, which if passed, would change that.
Last year, King introduced House Bill 4224, but the proposal didn't have a co-sponsor and never made it past a House Judiciary Committee. This year, the bill is getting a co-sponsor and a new chance at life.
Previous article: Lawmakers to fight for hate crime bill after gay teen was beaten by mob
Representative J. Todd Rutherford, a Democrat from Columbia who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he plans to reintroduce the bill before the committee on Tuesday when legislators return from furlough leave.
“We’re gonna try and make sure this bill gets passed,” Rutherford said. ”So that hate in South Carolina is not a family value.”