Main | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NOVA SCOTIA: Prominent Gay Activist Beaten To Death Outside Gay Bar

Halifax police have a suspect in custody in the murder of well-known gay activist Raymond Taavel, who was found beaten to death outside a gay bar early this morning.
Officers were called to the 2000-block of Gottingen Street at about 2:40 a.m. where they found a 49-year-old man bleeding. He later died in the street. Police have made an arrest over the death, but Const. Brian Palmeter of the Halifax Regional Police said it was too early to speculate on whether the homicide was a hate crime. “A witness … saw another man fleeing the area on foot,” Const. Palmeter told the National Post. Police dogs were able to track down the 32-year-old man, who was hiding in a nearby alley. Police expect to lay charges against him in the next 24 hours, Const. Palmeter said. Police have not named the victim but friends and co-workers have identified him as Raymond Taavel, an activist and the former editor of Wayves, a gay and lesbian magazine.
It's not yet known if the murder was a gay-bashing, although one account claims an anti-gay slur was used. Others note that the suspect in custody was recently held in a mental institution.

UPDATE: Another news source says that the killing was definitely a gay-bashing.
Two witnesses have told police the attacker used homophobic slurs during the beating and one eyewitness told CBC News that he repeatedly slammed Taavel's head into the street where the victim was found by police and later pronounced dead by paramedics. A witness, who only wants to be identified as James, told CBC News that he saw a large man attack two smaller men, who appeared to be friends. One victim fled and the attacker then slammed the other man's head into the street.

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