Mayor Jean Stothert on Thursday spoke out against hate crimes following reports of an Omaha man who was assaulted for defending his gay friends.
Ryan Langenegger of Omaha, 22, said he was assaulted early Sunday in downtown Omaha. Police are investigating the case as an anti-homosexual hate crime.
Stothert said in a statement she's confident police will conduct a thorough investigation.
“Hate crimes in our community will not be tolerated and should be reported and investigated,” she said.
Langenegger, who is straight, said he wasn't looking for a fight when he was punched in the face after a group of men made derogatory statements about two of his friends, one of whom was wearing a dress. The incident happened outside an Old Market restaurant.
Gay rights activists plan to rally Saturday against hate crimes and homophobia. The “Drag Out Hate!” rally will start at 4 p.m. at 13th and Howard Streets. Drag queens will lead a peaceful walk through the Old Market.
Stothert said she will not be able to attend.
“Saturday's planned march in the Old Market is a right of all citizens that we respect,” she said.