Man accused of hate crime against lesbian says he’s gay

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Friends of the man accused of a assaulting a lesbian because she was gay say he doesn’t' hate gays. In fact, they say he is gay.

Police say James Threadgill violently attacked his neighbor Tuesday night.

Gina Fortner says that’s not the man she knows.

"When 'hate crime' came out, it was staggering because James is a gay man. He is very helpful in the community," she said.

Fortner knows Threadgill as a man who loves his country. He served two tours in Iraq, and was injured when an IED hit his Humvee.

"He suffered a traumatic brain injury and he suffers from PTSD,” she said.

She says his injuries turned an argument into an attack Tuesday night.

Fortner told WREG Threadgill was in an ongoing dispute with his neighbor at this apartment complex on Stonewall over a barking dog.

Police say during Tuesday’s argument, Threadgill snapped and pushed the victim against an elevator and choked her.

The victim and her girlfriend say he called her nasty names about being a lesbian.

Fortner thinks when it got heated, Threadgill blacked out. It’s part of his PTSD.

"When he came to, he had his hands around her throat and he had no idea what happened from the time he blacked out at the time he came back to reality,” she said.

She says he's apologetic for what happened.

“That is what thing he told me. He is horrified of what he did,” she said.

She blames the head trauma for his behavior.

"He is also a victim."

But the victim's girlfriend says it doesn’t explain the gay slurs.

She said "that is not how the LGBT family treats each other."

She still believes the attack was motivated out of hate.

"I absolutely do not agree that he hates anyone,” his friend said.

That's will now be a decision investigators will make.


  • Christine

    I do not condone what this man did. I hope that the victim have a speedy recovery. I also hope that this matter can be settled out of court. By him being a combat veteran with mental health issues, no juror would want to send him to jail. I think in this situation, the focus should be on what he did, rather than what he said. Sometimes when we are upset we say things that we really don’t mean.

    • Dr. JohnS

      I agree with you, sounds like the man needs help and the VA is not doing enough for him. I keep hoping that man will evolve to the point that no one will ever have to go to war. Of course our politicians do not understand what happens since their children and family are never sent.

      • Friendofaccused

        Yeah u guys were all smiles when she was reporting in UR favor… Now UR attacking the reporter for getting the truth out… Figures !

    • Dick Lenhart

      Can you be so kind as to point out the error? I usually don’t miss a grammatical error. However, I’ve read this twice and can not see to find an error. I’m probably just not recognizing it. Thanks!

      • friendofvictim

        There is one in the first sentence..a assaulting the victim..”that is what (one) thing he told me…” the last sentence is a typo as well…but u get the point.

  • friendofthevictim

    I too have PTSD and a lot of veterans I know do too. The lady he choked said he never even apologized and that not only hurt, but struck us all as quite odd because if one of us had blacked out and came to, and found ourselves choking someone we would be very sorry and let them know that! She said though, that after he threw her out of the elevator onto the floor he continued to scream and curse her until the elevator door closed with him holding his pizza inside. Even if he isn’t a homophobic and it was not a hate crime, he still choked her so hard she feared she was gonna black out at any moment and possibly die. To know that his friend does say he is somewhat remorseful is comforting though. It has turned all of our lives upside down to one extent or another and it is appreciated. I’m sure the ladies are also sorry their chihuahua drove him this crazy. Yappy little things, I know. God bless!

    • Friendoftheaccussed

      Here is something I personally noticed first thing when going into the apartment complex, the elevator has been out of service… It has NOT been working since working had previously been in the building and mistakenly messed up the electrical service to them. They have 2 signs posted beside each elevator doors. The story just seems to keep getting little comments added in that are not the same everything it’s told. Just wish the stories of the “victims” friends would be consistent with the police report.

  • Friendofaccused

    You all want troll the page looking for someone to bash or jump on… The fact is there is way more to the story then these girls have admitted to and I’m waiting patiently 4 it to surface… He’s a good man and the rest of you don’t know him. He’s lived in this building 3 yrs without incident they lived there a mere 3-4 months and issues arise… Calculate that….

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