In June two U.S. Marines were arrested in Savannah, Georgia after viciously beating a gay man they claimed had winked at them. The victim was hospitalized after suffering two seizures at the site of the attack. The case prompted national outrage and a local protest vigil after the men were only charged with misdemeanor assault. On Friday a joint investigation by the FBI and local police concluded that the case did not merit any hate crimes charges.
Johnson said after the FBI, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department and the DA’s office reviewed Daly’s medical records and conducted further investigation, they determined this case had “no merit” to be considered a hate crime. “I can’t speak on the specifics because this is pending litigation, but for a crime to be considered a felony [which a hate crime is considered to be] there has to be proof of a sustained injury,” Johnson said. “It’s my understanding Daly suffered only a punch. Based on his medical records we could not upgrade the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.” If convicted of a misdemeanor, the Marines could face less than a year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,200, she added.