Allies Organize Rally in Duluth on Saturday, July 7 to Show Support for Survivors of Hate Crime
At a party in New Independence, MN, on Memorial Day Weekend, Max Pelofske was assaulted by a group of young men because of his sexual orientation. Under Minnesota law, this incident qualifies as a hate crime. The County Attorney's Office of St. Louis County has charged Max with fifth degree assault and disorderly conduct for defending himself. Max's friend Kelly Johnson has also been charged with disorderly conduct for attempting to protect him during the assault.
Supporters in the Duluth area are organizing a rally on Saturday, July 7 at 3:00 p.m. on the steps of the St. Louis County Courthouse, 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Duluth, MN 55802.
In response to the outpouring of support from family members, friends and community members, Max and Kelly have created a YouTube video to express their thanks.
In the video, Max says this about the assault: "I am scared all the time. I look over my shoulder and constantly feel alone. I don't understand at all how the victim of a hate crime can be charged with a crime."
Kelly asks "How could this happen to us? We did the right thing. We called the police to report a crime."
Last week, via Facebook and its web site and e-news, OutFront Minnesota asked its supporters and allies to contact St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin and request that all charges against Max and Kelly be dropped. At least 200 people took action by emailing or writing letters to Mr. Rubin. OutFront Minnesota has also urged the County Attorney's Office to re-evaluate its criteria for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
For more information, please contact: Monica Meyer, OutFront Minnesota Executive Director, 612-817-3480 or Rebecca Waggoner, OutFront Minnesota Anti-Violence Program Director, 612-384-1355.