Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has commented on the brutal murder of Waterloo Iowa gay teen Marcellus Andrews, who was savagely beaten to death by a group of people who preceded their attack with shouts of anti-gay slurs.
Stated Branstad in an interview with the Des Moines Register:
“The fact of the matter is, we need to protect the health, safety and well-being of all the citizens, regardless – if somebody is murdered, it needs to be investigated and prosecuted and people held responsible for it.
“But I see no link whatsoever and I think it’s inappropriate to try to blame people that are not associated with having committed a crime. I think we need to focus on the people who committed the crime and they need to be brought to justice.”
But according to Nakita Wright who along with her cousin Tudia Simpson who came to Marcellus Andrews defense a hate crime is exactly what it was.
Nakita says the problems started at about 12:45 a.m. Friday when she and Tudia Simpson, her cousin, went for a walk down the street. Andrews opted to stay behind, waiting on the enclosed porch, she said.
The two women hadn’t made it as far as Adams Street a block away when they heard yelling back at the house. They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him “faggot” and “Mercedes,” a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.
The arguing and name calling continued, said Simpson, who admitted throwing the first punch, striking a girl.
“She kept saying it, and I hit her,” Simpson said.
From there, the fight was on, with Nakita Wright and the others joining in, according to their account.
At some point during the scuffle, Nakita Wright felt her leg brush against something on the ground. She looked down and saw Andrews.
“I tried to help him up, and then this boy ran back and kicked him in his face,” Nakita Wright said.
After the brawl ended, she tried helping Andrews to his feet. He appeared dazed. She grabbed one arm and coaxed him as she lifted. He pushed up with his other arm, but then gave up.
However, Waterloo Iowa police refuse to believe the killing was a hate crime, said Lt. Michael McNamee, Waterloo police spokesman. “We’ve done multiple interviews and we have heard those allegations, but this was not because of his persuasion or the perception of his persuasion. These were all people who knew each other, and there was some bad blood between the two parties involved.”
Officials from One Iowa and Iowa Safe Schools denounced the homicide Tuesday as an apparent hate crime regardless of what the Waterloo Police Department and Governor Terry Branstad