Local minister acquitted of hate crime; state pays for legal bills, wages lost

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A minister of a local African American church was recently acquitted of two counts of malicious harassment, also known in Washington state as hate crimes. 

Derrick Moore, 51, argued he was acting in self defense when he threw his son, Antonio Moore, and his son's former boyfriend out of his home after he caught them having sex in his shower at 2:30 am. 

Now the state will be responsible for paying the minister's legal bills and wages lost from the days of work he missed according to a law that allows defendants to get paid if a jury finds the they acted in self-defense. 

The incident in question occurred February 6 after Antonio Moore and his boyfriend went out for a night of drinking. When the two men snuck into Derrick Moore's house, he was sleeping, but his wife was awake. She was helping youths from the congregation prepare for a community event the following day. 

Antonio Moore, 21, has a history of drug addiction and other crimes and was banned from the home before February 6 when his 11-year-old brother found a bag of his syringes, his father says. Antonio Moore was allowed to stay there, his father told him, as long as "what he did on the street didn't come into the house." The syringes were the last straw. 

When his wife woke him, Moore climbed out of bed to the sound of his son and the other man having drunk sex in the shower. He burst into the bathroom and forced them out of his house, uttering a slur and hitting the other man, who was later treated for a cut near his eye, but did not require stitches. 

"I start swinging, they start swinging, and I dragged them out to the front of the house," Derrick Moore says. "I just wanted them out. There was no hate intended, and I know I said something inappropriate, but I was very mad. He betrayed my trust." 

"We're talking about a guy's own home," says Derrick Moore's attorney, Tim Note. "You have to be able to say 'You can't do this in my house.' It's not like he's out in the public square hating people. He's in his own house." 

Since the trial, Derrick Moore says he's spoken with his son and encouraged him to get treatment for his drug addiction. Yesterday, he says, Antonio Moore called asking for help getting into treatment. 

"We love him and want him to succeed," Derrick Moore says. "Just like any father would." 

Derrick Moore's acquittal is the second time in two years a Spokane County jury decided in favor of property owners' rights. Last year, Gail Gerlach was acquitted of manslaughter when he argued self defense after fatally shooting Brendan Kaluza-Graham.

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