White is the 20-year old Atlanta man who was beaten by three men outside a neighborhood store in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh community on Feb. 4. While the men were beating White, they yelled gay slurs at him.
Devin Ward was among the first in the community to speak out against the beating. Ward said he supported White when he first saw the beating video on TV. He thought the three men beat White because he is gay. But Ward said he’s not certain that’s the case.
“If indeed this is shown to be truthful in that Brandon did have prior interaction with these young men, Brandon needs to come forward and make his wrong right,” Ward said.
Terik Jackson is also with Change Atlanta.
“In the beginning we thought this was a random attack because Brandon was gay, because of his sexual orientation. The video did depict that there were some slurs that were used,” Jackson said.
When White spoke publicly for the first time after the beating, he told reporters he did not know his attackers.
“I have never seen those guys before. I go to that store plenty times. I don’t bother anybody I don’t talk to anybody. No, I have never seen those guys before,” White said.
Several days after the attack, police arrested Dorian Moragne, Christopher Cain and Dareal Williams.
Gary Nichols said he and several other members of the community searched for White’s attackers before they were arrested.
Nichols said when they interviewed witnesses and those in the Pittsburgh community who know White and his alleged attackers, he found out new details about White’s prior relationship with some of his attackers.
“I would tell the Atlanta community we were duped. We were all duped and it’s a shame. It’s a bitter shame,” Nichols said.
Nichols said the attack was not a hate crime. The motivation was revenge.
“Brandon was agitating these young men about personally exposing them for being DL gay – on the down low possibly gay. The young men responded because they don’t want their families to know,” Nichols said.
Jackson said he spoke directly with one of the suspects, Dorian Moragne, who also confirmed that they knew White.
“He was very clear about being sure that Brandon White in fact knew the other attackers in question,” Jackson said.
Jackson and Nichols said the attack was centered around a video that’s supposed to be on White’s phone. The video of the attack shows one of the men grab White’s phone.
“It’s a video of somebody performing a sexual act with one or a few of these young men,” Nichols said.
“That’s why the cell phone was a target. They didn’t just beat him up because he was gay,” Jackson said.
Atlanta Police is still investigating the beating.