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City of Bangor Declares Today ‘Tolerance Day’

Photo, Bangor Mayor Ben Sprague

Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Bangor resident Charlie Howard, who was killed in a hate crime that rocked the city. Bangor Mayor Ben Sprague is remembering the event by declaring today ‘Tolerance Day’ in the city.

Charles O. Howard was just 23 years old when he was killed by three teenagers who targeted him because he was gay. Howard was walking home arm-in-arm with a friend, Roy Ogden, when the teens pulled up in a car. They chased Howard and Ogden down the street, yelling homophobic epithets, before catching up to the pair. They picked Howard up and threw him off the State Street bridge, into the Kenduskeag Stream. While they carried him to the edge, Howard repeatedly told them he had asthma and couldn’t swim. His body was recovered by rescue workers several hours later.

The three young men charged in the crime were 16-year-old Shawn Mabry, 15-year-old James Baines, and 17-year-old Daniel Ness. They were all tried as juveniles and sent to the Maine Youth Center for a period ‘not to exceed their 21st birthdays.’

At Bangor’s Pride Festival last month, Sprague declared the anniversary of Howard’s death, July 7th, as ‘Tolerance Day’ in Bangor. The declaration urges all community members to remember and honor the life of Charlie Howard by being respectful and supportive of others regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or any other characteristics that might be used to discriminate.


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