Several hundred people are expected Sunday at a rally in Savannah’s Johnson Square as the first public response to the June 12 beating of Kieran Daly. But Daly (photo), who came out as gay earlier this year, says he’ll skip the rally to spend the day with his children.
“I felt it necessary to spend the day recovering at home and spending time with my children,” he tells the Savannah Morning News.
The rally – and Daly’s decision to not attend – comes a day after he swatted down allegations that he used a racial slur in an argument with a truck driver that turned physical last January. Both Daly and the other man, Gregory Moore, were charged in the incident, but those were dismissed Feb. 23 when the men pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received a $500 fine, according to the Savannah Morning News.
A report on the Jan. 19 road rage incident states Port Wentworth officers were called to the Pilot gas station on Ga. 21 after someone reported a fight between Daly and truck driver Gregory Moore, of Birmingham, Ala.
Daly told police he passed Moore’s tractor-trailer on Ga. 21 and was followed to the gas station, according to the report.
In the report, Daly claimed Moore challenged him to a fight, grabbed him by the neck and punched him in the head multiple times.
Moore, meanwhile, contended to police that Daly made an obscene gesture while driving on Ga. 21, so Moore followed him to the gas station. There, Moore told police, words were exchanged and Daly allegedly uttered a racial slur. Moore said he challenged Daly to repeat the slur, which Daly did, and then Moore punched him in the face, the report stated.
A witness at the scene said he heard arguing and a loud commotion but did not know who threw the first punch, according to the report.
Moore and Daly both were charged, but those were dismissed Feb. 23 in Port Wentworth Municipal Court in lieu of a guilty verdict of disorderly conduct and a $500 fine.
Daly told the newspaper on Saturday that Moore struck him in the back of the head – the same allegation Daly has said took place on June 12 when he was beaten in downtown Savannah. Daly said allegations that he uttered a racial slur in the January fight “are entirely false.”
“While it is true that I was arrested for battery, affray and reckless driving,” Daly said in his statement Saturday, “those three charges were dismissed in lieu of a guilty plea to a city ordinance violation of disorderly conduct, which is neither a misdemeanor nor a felony.
“Furthermore, the incident in question is irrelevant to the events that took place on June 12.”
Police investigating the June 12 incident have interviewed Daly once, but say he has declined to provide his medical record and won’t talk with police without an attorney. Alison Brennan, a friend of Daly’s who witnessed the attack, has also declined to be interviewed by police a second time.
“Everything has to be substantiated and that is what we are trying to do,” Officer Gene Moore, a spokesperson for Savannah-Chatham Metro Police, told Project Q Atlanta.
On June 12, Daly was struck in the back of the head in an apparent confrontation with two Marines. Daly and his friends say the unprovoked attack took place after the Marines — Keil Joseph Cronauer, 22, Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23 — learned he was gay. The two men say they were subjected to unwanted verbal advances.
Both men were arrested minutes after the incident, charged with misdemeanor battery and are now restricted to their military base near Savannah. As local police continue their investigation, the FBI said Tuesday that it has opened a preliminary inquiry to see if the case may fall under the new federal law. The Marines are also investigating the incident.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League commended local and federal authorities for investigating whether the hate crime law applies to the case.
On Friday, Georgia Equality – which is helping organize Sunday’s rally – issued a press release about a second gay man who alleges he was attacked in February, though the man did not report the incident to police.