Anti-Defamation League Condemns FRC Shooting, Calls for Investigation as a Hate Crime

By Elizabeth Harrington | August 17, 2012 | 3:25 PM EDT

FBI outside the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 15, 2012. (AP)

( – The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the shooting that took place at the Family Research Council on Wednesday, in which the suspect allegedly professed his political differences with the organization before opening fire.  The ADL is calling for police to investigate the act as a hate crime.

“The use of violence against an individual or organization because of a disagreement with their beliefs, values, or policy positions is unacceptable and indefensible,” said ADL's Washington, D.C. Regional Director David C. Friedman in a statement.

“Free speech – no matter who the speaker is, no matter how offensive or objectionable the speech, is one of the foundation principles of our nation,” he said.

Friedman said the suspect, Floyd Lee Corkins II, should be charged with a hate crime, which is illegal in the District of Columbia, if the investigation reveals he was driven to violence by political prejudice.

“We are confident that the Metropolitan Police Department will fully investigate this crime,” Friedman said.  “If the facts reveal that the perpetrator was motivated by unlawful bias, law enforcement authorities should consider prosecution under the D.C. Bias Crime Statute.”

At around 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Corkins entered the office of the Family Research Council, and shot security guard Leo Johnson in the arm. Although wounded, Johnson was able to disarm and subdue Corkins as more help arrived. The FBI in an affidavit reported that a witness at the FRC related that Corkins said words to the effect ‘I don’t like your politics.’”

The Family Research Council, in its mission statement, states that it “champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society.”

Alleged gunman Floyd Corkins is taken into custody outside the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 15, 2012. (AP Photo)

According to the FBI affidavit, Corkins had a 9mm handgun, two loaded magazines, another 50 rounds of ammunition, and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in a backpack when he entered the FRC headquarters, located at 801 G Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. FRC had publicly defended Chick-fil-A after it was thrust into the national spotlight when its CEO Dan Cathy said he supported traditional marriage, in late July.

Corkins had been volunteering for the last six months at The DC Center for the LGBT Community, which condemned the violence in a statement.

Hate crimes have been illegal in D.C. since 1989.  The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) defines a hate crime as one “that is committed against a person because of prejudice or bias.”

“Victims of hate crimes are singled out simply because of their perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibility, physical handicap, matriculation, or political affiliation,” according to the MPD.

“Bias or hate crime statutes have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia,” said Friedman.  “Many of those laws are based on a model statute crafted by the ADL, which has long been in the forefront of national and state efforts to deter and counter act hate-motivated criminal activity.”

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.