Hate Crime victim finds assailant on Facebook

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Washington, D.C. student of Georgetown University has been arrested on suspicion of a hate crime, in which he allegedly beat up another man because the victim was gay. News reports confirm that the victim - who also goes to the same school - recognized the alleged assailant, because of his profile and photos on Facebook.

Washington DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced yesterday that Philip Cooney had been arrested after a warrant was issued for the September 9 attack, which occurred in the 1400 block of 36th Street NW (Between O and P Streets, NW). The victim was allegedly attacked by a group of males yelling homophobic slurs. "He made it a point to etch the suspect's face in his mind and remember him," Police Lt. Alberto Jova said. "Because of that he was able to give a very positive identification." The victim in this case suffered a broken thumb and cuts and bruises to his face.

The victim suspected his attacker was also a student at Georgetown, and did extensive examination of information available on Facebook, a popular web site used by students to socialize online.

Cooney could not be reached for comment, and will be arraigned in D.C. Superior Court today. A friend of the alleged assailant was shocked at the allegations and said he is "one of the nicest and most gentle people that we know at this school."

The attack is considered unrelated to two other hate crimes which occurred this month in the Northwest quadrant of the city.