The FBI is investigating the murder of a 22-year-old black man who may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation.
Dionte Greene, who identified as gay, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th and Bellefontaine in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.
Bridget Patton, public information officer for the Kansas City division of the FBI, confirmed Greene's murder is being investigated under the federal civil rights statute, which includes bias-motivated hate crimes, to determine if a violation occurred.
Greene's friends believe he was killed Oct. 31 after agreeing to meet a man for sex, but few details are available because both the FBI and the Kansas City Police Department are still investigating.
Randall Jenson of the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project says Greene's murder has heightened awareness within the black gay community of other deaths that may have been written off by local police as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"And let's qualify that – the wrong place being predominately black neighborhoods and the wrong time being in situations where the police can easily write off that maybe they were bad or violent – they don't get investigated," says Jenson. "And certainly there are no hate crime charges."
Jenson says unlike many LGBT youths, Greene had a loving, committed family, which has helped call attention to the case. His murder has also triggered a broader conversation about deep racial divides within the Kansas City LGBT community.