Early last year four men in Texas used the dating app Grindr to single out queer people as victims for a string of home invasions. Now, one of the men has been charged with hate crimes and has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
21-year-old Nigel Garrett confessed back in August that he and the three other defendants used the app to set up meetings with individuals across a month-long period about a year ago.
“Upon entering the victim’s home, the defendants restrained the victim with tape, physically assaulted the victim, and made derogatory statements to the victim for being gay,” the Department of Justice press release reads. “The defendants brandished a firearm during the home invasion, and they stoel the victim’s property, including his motor vehicle.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore was quick to point out the selective nature of the crimes. “The Justice Department will not tolerate hate crimes against any individual based on sexual orientation,” he said in a statement. “Hate crimes are violent crimes but also attack the fundamental principles of the United States. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”
Last May a federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment against the four suspects, including kidnappings, carjackings, and the use of a firearm to commit violent crimes along with the federal hate crimes. The other three defendants await sentencing.