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Archive for Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Student calls for stand against violence

December 11, 2002

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A Kansas University student is planning a candlelight vigil to protest last FridayâÂÂs beating of a gay man outside the Replay Lounge, 946 Mass.

âÂÂThere needs to be a community response to this - the community needs to take a stand against violence,â said Ailecia Ruscin, an American studies graduate student from Auburn, Ala.

The vigil will begin at 1:30 a.m. Friday outside the Replay Lounge. ItâÂÂs expected to last about 30 minutes.

âÂÂI know thatâÂÂs a hard time for some people, but itâÂÂs symbolic. ItâÂÂs one week after the attack happened,â Ruscin said.

Ruscin says she is acquainted with the victim.

âÂÂI know him from hanging out at the Replay,â she said. âÂÂHeâÂÂs an acquaintance.âÂÂ

Jeffery Medis, 28, suffered a broken nose, fractured upper and lower jaws, a fractured eye socket, a concussion and a gash on his chin that took six stitches to close. He also suffered a seizure, and two of his teeth were knocked out.

Medis, who does not have health insurance, told police he couldnâÂÂt identify his attacker - or attackers - and couldnâÂÂt remember the assault.

âÂÂThe only thing I remember is that I was standing outside waiting on my friends to get their coats,â Medis said.

Medis said he was convinced he was beaten for being gay and that the incident should be prosecuted as a hate crime. His sister filed a civil rights complaint Monday with the FBI.

âÂÂI really want to see something done. IâÂÂd like to see a precedent set,â Medis said. âÂÂI mean, a person shouldnâÂÂt be afraid to step outside and nearly get killed - this is like having a serial rapist on the loose.âÂÂ

Sgt. Mike Pattrick, spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department, said detectives were continuing to check leads received on the CrimeStoppers tip line.

Pattrick said detectives were not sure what role Medisâ homosexuality played in the incident.

âÂÂAt this point,â he said, âÂÂweâÂÂre not classifying it as a hate crime because we donâÂÂt know if thatâÂÂs what it is.âÂÂ

News of the planned vigil surprised Medis, who says he is staying holed up in his apartment until his face heals.

âÂÂThis whole thing has made me realize how many friends I have and how many really good people there are in Lawrence, especially at the Replay,â he said. âÂÂI wouldnâÂÂt be making it without them.âÂÂ

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