There were times in our not-too-distant past when openly treating people differently (read:poorly) because of their skin color, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation was entirely acceptable. While this certainly still happens all over the country today, it is no longer the societal norm that it once was. Thank goodness! But some wonder if our response to intolerance has become intolerant, so to speak. Case in point would be Stephen D. Edwards Jr., who was recently arrested and charged with numerous felonies for making a drunken homophobic video via Periscope.
Had Edward’s video simply been a vocal one, perhaps it could have been written off as drunken trash talk at best, and empty threats at worst. But in his Periscope posting, Edwards reveals himself pointing a gun at a man he believed was gay outside a Detroit nightclub. Holding the cowering man at gunpoint, Edwards went on to verbalize his drunken disdain for the homosexual lifestyle with a series of expletives and slurs.
Although the video containing the weapon only lasts 32 seconds and no shots were fired, it is enough for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to bring charges. Several people tagged the Detroit Police Department demanding an investigation, which led to Edward’s arrest. He has since been charged with Felonious assault, Carrying a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle, and Felony firearm.
Edwards admits to illegal activities in video
Before Edwards changed the settings on his Periscope account to private, the video he posted was extensively shared. In subsequent videos, he is said to be heard discussing a number of illegal activities including involvement in a shootout which resulted in him being shot in the leg, credit card fraud, and armed robbery. He was also heard saying that he hated white people.
When numerous people following his account asked if he was afraid of arrest, Edwards is said to have answered that he would not be going back to jail. “I’m not never going back to jail … Police get behind me, we shooting, (racial slur) … I ain’t catchin any gun case.” He also allegedly claimed that the gun he pointed in the video was a fake. “I don’t need none of you … trying to incriminate me.”
Edwards has since made another video apologizing to the LGBT community at large, saying that he doesn’t really mean the things he said in the first social media video. It was me, but physically it wasn’t me…I was intoxicated and I need to be put through rehab,” he said to his watchers. “I apologize, though. I was intoxicated. I had Xanax in my system, liquor, weed, all that.”
Edwards also says that he has personally apologized to the man he held at gunpoint explaining that he wasn’t raised that way and his family is very disappointed in his actions. He is currently being held on a $25,000 bond in the Wayne County Jail. His next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is scheduled for August 1st.