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Police identify 7 suspects in alleged anti-LGBTQ assault on two Michigan State students

Police announced Tuesday that they have identified seven suspects in connection with an alleged attack on two students that allegedly took place the day before at their school’s main library.

Michigan State University Police said in a statement that the suspects targeted the two victims on Monday, potentially due to bias against the victims’ sexual orientation. They added that none of the suspects were affiliated with the university and that they would ask prosecutors to file charges once the investigation is complete.

“It is important to recognize that crimes are never the fault of the victim,” the statement read. “Anyone who believes they have been a victim of discrimination or harassment is encouraged to report the incident(s) to the MSU Office of Institutional Equity.” »

Doug Monette, MSU’s interim vice president and chief security officer, and Vennie Gore, senior vice president of the school’s department of student life and engagement, spoke to students and faculty in a separate statement Tuesday.

The Michigan State University entrance sign.Educational Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Monette and Gore noted that the incident occurred during the university’s LGBTQ Pride month, “highlighting its importance.” Both men added that the alleged altercation was based on the students’ “racial identity” in addition to their sexuality.

“Discrimination or harassment, including hate crimes, based on protected identities can have a significant impact,” they said. “We want everyone to know that they deserve to feel safe and respected. »

Neither the university nor MSU police immediately responded to requests for additional comment.

If only anti-LGBTQ bias were at play, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel noted, it would not be possible for prosecutors to charge suspects with a hate crime. Current Michigan state law does not prohibit intimidation, harassment, threats, or harm based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“This is not an inclusive class, under the ethnic intimidation law,” she said Tuesday, speaking to reporters at an unrelated news conference. That would be the case, under proposed legislation in the House and Senate. I have encouraged Parliament to move forward in this direction, and this could be an example of why it is so important to do so.

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