UK cops make first arrests for 'hate crime' against emo subculture
By Alastair Jamieson, Staff writer, NBC News
Two people were arrested in Britain Thursday over an assault on an "emo" teenager -- the first such move after police began recording attacks on subculture members as “hate crimes.”
The term, short for “emotive” or “emotional,” usually refers to an introspective style of music -- somewhere between punk and grunge -- and its associated fashion styles.
Earlier this month, Greater Manchester Police became the first force in the U.K. to treat attacks on groups such as goths, emos and punks in the same way as crimes based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
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The 16-year-old victim was “distinctively dressed as an emo” in an eastern suburb of the northern England city when he was punched in the face Monday evening, the Manchester Evening News newspaper said.The victim “describes himself as an emo,” police said in a statement, adding that officers had arrested a 14-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man over the attack.“The assault has been reported as an alternative subculture hate crime and will be investigated as such,” the statement added.A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the injured teen was hit "several times."Garry Shewan, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said: "It is unfortunate that this incident happened, but the fact we were able to identify this as a hate crime is very positive. Just last Thursday we announced that we will now record alternative subculture as a hate motivation."
"We hope this encourages victims to continue to come forward so we can take positive action against offenders," he added.
In England, a hate crime is defined by prosecutors as “a criminal offense motivated by prejudice based on a person's disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”
The decision by police to include subcultures was partly a result of the 2007 killing of Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old in the northern England county of Lancashire, who was kicked and stamped to death for being a goth.