The Police Department in Mesquite, Texas, is offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest of a suspect in an apparent hate crime where a man beat a lesbian mother unconscious when she stepped in to defend her four-year-old son, who was being bullied on a playground by the suspect's children.
Sondra Scarber, 27, says she and her partner, Hillary Causey, were watching their son at an elementary school playground on February 17, when Scarber says some children began shoving their son, Jaxon. When Scarber stepped in to intervene, the children's fathers got involved.
The Dallas Voice wrote a comprehensive article on the attack, including a graphic description of the assault, where the suspect held Scarber off the ground by her necklace, repeatedly punching her until she was unconscious, then kicked her in the face while she lay on the ground, dislocating her jaw by nearly two inches. The suspect reportedly became enraged when he realized that Scarber and Causey were a same-sex couple, and repeatedly hurled antigay slurs as he beat Scarber.
Scarber needed reconstructive surgery, and her mouth is still wired shut as part of her recovery.
Police in Mesquite say they are not ruling out potential hate-crime charges, but claim that those arise in the prosecution process, rather than in the initial charge. Interestingly, Dallas Voice points out that in the past five years, the Mesquite Police Department has reported zero hate crimes, while neighboring Garland Police Department reported 46 hate crimes to the FBI between 2007 and 2011.
Mesquite police, however, say they are determined to make an arrest in the case.
"Someone with this propensity for violence is a danger to everyone in the community," police spokesman Lt. Bill Hedgpeth told Dallas Voice. "This bad guy needs to be arrested so we can prosecute him and get him off the street."