An 18 year-old Tulsa man is recovering Tuesday night after he was attacked over the weekend.
“My cheek (is brusised), my forehead is obviously a little busted up, a busted lip, my eye (is also hurt), I don’t know if you can see it. It’s hard to look at, especially in the mirror,” Cody Rogers told FOX23.
Cody spoke to FOX23 close to 72 hours after he was attacked at a weekend party in south Tulsa.
“I am feeling really emotional, I am holding it in right now,” Cody said.
Rogers is slowly starting to heal.
“There were some ladies who invited their boyfriends (to a going away party) who had a problem with some of the homosexuals that were there."
Cody could hear the homophobic slurs from another room, and when those boyfriends were asked to leave the apartment, one refused. That person attacked Cody’s friend, a 21 year-old girl.
“I stepped in and they threw me to the ground, obviously, I’m a little beat up,” Cody said.
As he was on the ground, the two teens attacking him kept shouting the slurs. His friends were shocked to see it all unfold.
“They were just so angry just over someone’s sexual orientation that they would do something like this,” Jordan Garrett told FOX23, “(Cody) looked as if a truck hit him.”
During the attack, Cody lost conciousness and when he came to, the attackers were gone. The police came minutes later.
“It’s classified as simple assault,” Cody said of the case.
His friend Jordan thinks it should be classified as more, “I believe 100 percent that this was a hate crime.”
Sexual orientation is not a protected class in Cklahoma. Cody’s using pictures of his battered body to try and push for change.
“I am not ashamed as to what happened. I am proud to stand here and show the bruises,” he said.
Cody has already started a Facebook page to change Oklahoma’s hate crime laws, and he thinks this could be where the real healing begins.
Cody has an ally in Oklahomans for Equality’s Toby Jenkins.
“It’s been a while since we have had an significant act of violence where a man has been beaten like Cody has been beaten,” Jenkins told FOX23.
Jenkins says Oklahoma is behind the times.
“Oklahoma needs a hate crimes law that is inclusive and expansive and includes people who are sexual minorities.”
Oklahoma is one of just 19 states that don’t include sexual orientation as a protected class in their hate crime bills. Tulsa Police know that first hand.
“It's got to be extremely frustrating when you feel like you've been chosen, picked,” Jason Willingham with the Tulsa Police Department said Tuesday.
Willingham said there is little the department can do.
“It's something that's out of our hands. It’s some that needs to be addressed at the state level.”
In states where attacking someone based on their sexual orientation is a hate crime, Cody’s attackers might be looking at possible felony charges.
To see Cody’s Page, Help Stop the Stomping, click here: https://www.facebook.com/HelpStopTheStomping
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