Photos courtesy of the Brian Deneke Memorial Website



Brian "Sunshine" Deneke by Abbey Whitney

[Editor's note: Abbey was given a school assignment: to write a paper about hate crimes. She chose to write about the Brian Deneke case. She got an A.]

At times the world shuts its eyes on the so called "different kids." They look at this outward appearance of spiked hair, studded belts, chains, and sometimes even a skateboard at their sides. All of a sudden they are these rebel kids with bad intentions. Yeah, so they listen to ruff underground music, and have a DIY (Do It Yourself) motto, but what's so wrong with that? For these kids punk is a lot more than just a "look." Punk is what they are, true to what they believe in; they stick together.
brian deneke      So how easy is it for someone to get away with murder? It was easier than you think for Dustin Camp. Was it because he was an all around good guy, football player, popular, maybe a prep? Or maybe because his victim was a punk who dressed differently and had a mohawk? Brian Deneke was that punk kid who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are so many questions that just can't be answered, but hopefully you'll start to understand.
      This is the story of a punk named Brian Deneke... In Amarillo, Texas it was easy to see the different cliques, Punks and Preps. Brian Deneke who was 19 was most known for his spiked mohawk and his punk attire. But his look often led to problems. Brian would get hassled at malls and approached by their security. At his high school in Amarillo the students would kick up muddy water while he was walking by. When asked from a student why he didn't drop his punk look, he simply said "It's me." Even though Brian got trashed on by the other kids, he made a big impact on people in his community and the punk generation everywhere. He worked at the Dynamite Museum, and made old Cadillacs into pieces of art. Many times he helped put together concerts for anyone who wanted to come.
      On December 12, 1997 originally going to a concert but being short of money Brian and some friends went to IHOP (International House Of Pancakes). Dustin Camp 17, a varsity football player was also there. Words were said and past events led up to a fight in the Western Plaza Shopping Center parking lot. No one is sure exactly what happened in this time, but Dustin Camp and some of his friends in his 1983 Cadillac, ran Brian down. He died that night from being ran over. Ran over because he was different, because he was a punk. The same kind of car Brian Deneke loved and turned into art took his life that night.
      Camp was arrested on murder charges the next day. The trial began soon after. While in trial officers brought in Brian's clothes, as if to say this was the reason he was killed. Camp's friends, family, teachers, coach, and even pastor told the court that Dustin was a "good kid." The question on everyone's mind was "Do good kids kill other kids?" After everything was all said and done in court the results were in, Camp was convicted of manslaughter but only got a ten year probation and a fine of $10,000. This came as a shock to everyone including Dustin's friends. No one thought that he had gotten what he deserved for killing Brian. Especially Brian's family. It was one thing having their son murdered but then to see Camp let off basically free.
      An Amarillo jury found in favor of the Deneke's for a wrongful death suit against the Camps on June 7th 2000, and awarded them $20,000. No amount of money can take the pain away or give their son back. Finally in 2001, Dustin Camp was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
      Right now the world has enough problems. Punk or Prep, aren't we all the same inside? Brian Deneke stood up for what he believed in, maybe we should all be a little more like Brian... like he said "It's Me."
      RIP Brian Deneke.

Brian's name has been added to Real Skate's "Team Valhalla" page.

Plese visit Brian's memorial website:



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