Last month, GLAAD posted a Story To Watch about the murder of Waterloo, Iowa, teenager, Marcellus Richard Andrews. On Thursday, law enforcement arrested a suspect, 19-year-old Paris Akeem Anding, on charges of second degree murder. Andrews, also 19, was outside of a friend’s house when he was brutally beaten on Friday, August 19. He died on August 21 from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the autopsy report.
Some witnesses told reporters that Andrews’ attackers were yelling anti-gay slurs and feminizations of his name while they beat him. However, local law enforcement are not investigating the murder as a hate crime, claiming that a dispute between Andrews and his attackers was ongoing throughout the past year. Members of Andrews’ family have spoken out in support of this decision.
The LGBT advocacy group One Iowa, along with Iowa Safe Schools, has publicly condemned the attack and released a statement citing the need to create safe, welcoming, and inclusive spaces for all youth. The Black Hawk County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has also spoken out, saying of Andrews’ attack, “Gay or not, perceived as gay still ends up being a hate crime under those conditions.” GLAAD is keeping in close touch with One Iowa and has reached out to a number of media outlets to ensure the fair, accurate, and inclusive coverage of this story. We will continue to monitor coverage as this case develops.