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South Street assault being investigated as possible hate crime

2013-01-03T17:09:00Z 2013-01-04T09:34:32Z South Street assault being investigated as possible hate crimeDON LEHMAN -- dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
January 03, 2013 5:09 pm  • 

The assault of a Massachusetts man in Glens Falls last month may be prosecuted as a “hate crime” after police learned the suspect made derogatory comments to the victim before he attacked him.

The victim, Jason Aiken, is not gay, but police said the man who attacked him made comments before the attack that indicate an anti-gay bias.

So authorities are looking into whether Jesse J. Tracy committed a hate crime based on a bias as he severely beat Aiken early in the morning of Dec. 22.

“We’re still doing interviews and want to talk to anyone who witnessed this or has any information about the case,” Glens Falls Police Detective Sgt. Peter Casertino said.

Police said Tracy, 29, called Aiken names as he followed him and a friend along South Street before attacking Aiken in the South Street municipal parking lot.

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said her office is aware of the statements attributed to Tracy in the moments before Aiken was beaten.

“We’re in the process of interviewing all of the witnesses and certainly if there is evidence of bigotry being a motivating factor, we will charge it as a hate crime,” she said.

Tracy’s lawyer, Tucker Stanclift, said he was not aware of a possible hate crime enhancement of the charge, but said his firm is continuing to investigate the case as of Thursday.

Tracy has been charged with second-degree assault, a felony, for severely injuring Aiken, and charging the case as a hate crime would result in the potential sentence for a second-degree assault conviction increasing from 7 years in prison to 15 years.

Aiken, 26, a Massachusetts resident who is formerly from Washington County, was attacked as he helped an intoxicated friend from a South Street bar to a car.

Police said Tracy punched Aiken and knocked him down and then punched him repeatedly in the face as he was lying on the pavement, only stopping when friends of Tracy urged him to leave because they thought Aiken was dead.

Tracy, 29, of Fort Ann is an amateur mixed martial arts fighter who fought last month in an event in Granville.

He has an extensive criminal history that includes prior arrests for felony assault and felony criminal sale of a controlled substance in Washington County. He pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges in each case.

He also has been arrested on misdemeanor or lesser charges at least a dozen times, according to court records.

Aiken remained in Albany Medical Center on Thursday, 12 days after the incident. He had surgery last week to repair numerous broken facial bones.

Glens Falls Police can be reached at 761-3840.

The case has led to an effort by Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond to close bars at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(9) Comments

  1. Rinnah
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    Rinnah - January 09, 2013 1:01 pm
    If they added more tax on a product that's already taxed they would lose money in the long run. It would hurt more than help.
  2. jamieheath
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    jamieheath - January 08, 2013 1:52 pm
    Laws against hate crimes were not created because "it hurts worse", but to stop people from commiting crimes against a person from a group of people. In other words, if Tracy assaulted this man because he believed Aiken to be a homosexual, then it is a hate crime. The hate towards that group had to be the cause behind the assault. The laws against hate crimes were created to stop hate between people. The Holocaust was a hate crime. Do you not think assaulting or murdering people because of their race, religion, sexual orientaion, or any other difference should be a crime? If you want to beat the crap out of a fellow human, then do it as a professional sport or because he pissed you off, but not because he didn't share your beliefs. That's hate. I agree with you that if Aiken was only being called a faggot as he was being beat, then it is just brutal assault, not a hate crime. But please don't be ignorant and think hate crimes don't exist.
  3. truthplz
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    truthplz - January 08, 2013 1:03 pm
    Discriminatory against white people? I hope that was sarcastic.
  4. Rinnah
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    Rinnah - January 07, 2013 10:44 pm
    Very well written. There is a HUGE picture here. Early closing times will hurt the county and thus the city. There will be a loss of the sales tax income. The people who work in the establishments as their main source of income for their families will be hurt. Someone who is hell bent on comitting a crime will find another way to have their "fun".
    It won't stop the drug trafficing, they'll continue as the out of towners consider upstate NY "virgin territory" ripe for the picking. South Street isn't the only area that things like this have happened. Lawrence and Cherry Streets come to mind immediately.
  5. independentguy
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    independentguy - January 06, 2013 1:36 pm
    a hate crime? give me a break. this hate crime stuff is out of hand. calling someone names as you are pounding their face into the ground is nothing more than a brutal assault. so, if someone is getting pounded into the pavement is gay, it hurts worse? the issue is here: this fool who did the assaulting should not be allowed to fight in any sanctioned event. if a martial artist misuses his skills for other than defensive purposes or organized matches, they could lose their belt and membership. that should be the penalty along with jail time. it has nothing to do with hate crimes that is discriminatory toward white people.
  6. pbakken
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    pbakken - January 06, 2013 9:30 am
    Two points:

    If someone makes repeated gay SLURS WHILE ATTACKING SOMEONE, it's a hate crime, just the same as it would be if it was racial slurs the attacker was saying to the victim. Also very important, the attacker is a TRAINED FIGHTER. Now I also understand trained fighters CAN have more severe charges brought against them along the lines of deadly weapon charges.

    Regarding the issues on South St and Glens Falls in general, many of the issues stem from the obscene amount of drug trafficking done at this time by mostly out of towners .

    Perhaps Glens Falls PD should be doing more partnering with Warren County Sheriff and State Police / BCI to actually start dealing with the problems effectively. Early closing times will do NOTHING but hurt the Glens Falls economy and drive tax revenues down. Oh yeah, and making the crimes happen EARLIER in the night when decent law abiding citizens are out with their families or for a nice dinner ..

    Please people, look at the BIG PICTURE..
  7. motherof3plus09
    Report Abuse
    motherof3plus09 - January 04, 2013 5:18 pm
    Maybe they will allow this comment to be posted... These victims are in this situation because of a lax criminal justice system the man who hit the police officer With his car awhile back had failed numerous drug tests while on probation, the five year old who died did so at the hands of a pair that had violated probation more then once, the seven week old was abused by a man who had so many violent, and non violent arrests it is crazy!! Maybe if the system actually did its job this wouldn't happen!!
  8. scottycc31
    Report Abuse
    scottycc31 - January 04, 2013 12:56 pm
    This guy has no obvious repsect for the law......and why should he??? He knows the court system is mostly just a joke. Everyone pretty much gets a plea deal for most crimes.....and this guy knows it. Laws were meant to deter from crimes. Now with all these plea deals, there's really nothing ot be afraid of. Come on, arrested about a dozen times????
  9. Houligan
    Report Abuse
    Houligan - January 03, 2013 9:49 pm
    Why doesn't Glens Falls charge a drink tax on all alcohol sold on south street to help pay for the beefed up police presence. Lake George charges a bed tax.

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