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Monday, August 9, 2010

Hate Crime on Capitol Hill

Posted by on Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Last Monday, August 2, at just before midnight a man walking home along Harvard Avenue E was allegedly called a faggot and shoved to the ground, causing numerous injuries including chipped teeth and a split chin, according to a filed police report.

The man was at the intersection of Harvard Avenue E and E Roy Street, headed north, when a stranger wearing a backwards baseball cap passed him headed in the opposite direction. As the stranger passed, he allegedly called the victim a faggot and then pushed the victim from behind, knocking him to the sidewalk. The report states that the victim "struck his face on the concrete" causing obvious lacerations to his nose, lip, and chin, as well as several chipped front teeth. The victim stated that no other words were said by either party, either before or after the assault.

The report notes that when police arrived on scene, the victim was "covered in blood" and that his chin required stitches.

Officers in the area were unable to locate the alleged attacker. He is described as a white man in his 20s, approximately 5'11", weighing 160 lbs.

 

Comments (53) RSS

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1
Was the victim actually androsexual?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 9, 2010 at 11:03 AM · Report this
slake 2
Every assault is a hate crime whether or not the attacker-victim is gay/straight/white/black/poor/rich, young/old.
Posted by slake on August 9, 2010 at 11:05 AM · Report this
3
Oh, no! I'm so sorry. The one time I attacked a playmate as a child it was a push to the concrete, and it hurt him so badly. Whenever I hear about something like this I think, ah, a coward like I was.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 9, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Report this
seandr 4
Damn, that sucks.

As someone who often walks home from Pike/Pine to North Capitol Hill late at night, I assume any man I see on the street is a potential mugger or gay-basher (even straight guys on the Hill have to worry about the latter). If there's not enough time for me to adjust my route when I see someone, I calmly look him in the eye as we pass to let me him I'm ready if he's going to start something.
Posted by seandr on August 9, 2010 at 11:11 AM · Report this
5
#2. I'm not trying to make light of tragedy, but I want to understand the logic of it.

You say that any assault is a hate crime. Well then how do you distinguish a hate crime from any other crime.

For example, say if I go and mug an African-American and I call him a "honkey". Is that a hate crime? Or say I rob a lesbian and call her a "man loving petite femine girl".
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 9, 2010 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 6
How to filter out certain Slog commentators:

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/4859…

Invaluable, I tell you.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on August 9, 2010 at 11:22 AM · Report this
slake 7
#5 Umm, don't want to start a flame war, but I don't distinguish a hate crime from any other crime, and I don't think the government should either.

I'm sure others feel differently and I respect their opinions. (that last sentence was probably an Internet first)
Posted by slake on August 9, 2010 at 11:29 AM · Report this
SPG 8
The retarded right always harp on that "any crime is a hate crime" bullshit line as cover. It's not a hate crime unless your reason for attacking, as in this case, is because the person is gay (or you believe them to be gay) which then makes the attack an attempt to terrorize the larger group of gays.
To the retard right and other pea brains, their first reaction to anything they don't like or don't understand is a primal mix of fear and hate. To attack that which they fear is natural, so they can't make the connection to the larger fact that attacking a group or individual because they hate them is wrong. Add in a mix of closeted self loathing homosexuals trying to repress themselves by demonizing the other openly gay people and you wind up with some confused, angry, men lashing out at their own fears and insecurities by attacking the innocent.
Posted by SPG on August 9, 2010 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Phoebe on NE 79th 9
It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how progressive things seem to get, raw violent homophobia still perpetuates.
Posted by Phoebe on NE 79th on August 9, 2010 at 11:31 AM · Report this
slake 10
#8 SPG, I respect your opinion and respectfully disagree. I am also awed by your vocabulary of retard and pea brains.
Posted by slake on August 9, 2010 at 11:35 AM · Report this
SPG 11
#7. The reason there is a difference is because a hate crime is attacking a member of a group as a representative of that group in order to instill fear in the group as a whole.
Posted by SPG on August 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM · Report this
SPG 12
#10 slake, I don't respect your opinion because you are flat out wrong and too much of a pea brain to be reasoned with as basic logic escapes your grasp.
Posted by SPG on August 9, 2010 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Telsa 13
@6: Uh, "la la la la I can't hear things I can't deal with hearing" solves all problems, yes? Isn't that what people in denial do when they hear something which threatens them to face that denial?

As to the original post and victim, it underscores how invaluable self-defence 101 courses are for the self. When I lived in Seattle years ago, I enrolled in a Home Alive self-defence course, which was extremely helpful knowledge to have. Is that even around anymore?
Posted by Telsa on August 9, 2010 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 15
Nice going, SPG. You've managed to firmly establish who the jackass is in just a handful of posts. (Hint: It's not slake.)
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on August 9, 2010 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 17
Thank god they're not attacking asexual polyandrous asian females ...
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 9, 2010 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 18
@13 ftw. Tai Chi is also a form of self-defense.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 9, 2010 at 11:59 AM · Report this
SPG 19
#15, I respect your opinion and respectfully disagree to be called a jackass. Should I also respectfully disagree the next time some small minded bigot mistakes me for a gay man and starts attacking me? Should I ask politely if the attacker wouldn't mind not perpetrating a hate fueled rage of assault?
Posted by SPG on August 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM · Report this
34x42 20
@4, i don't worry about shit. this guy should be happy i didn't witness this, you fuck with my fags and the party is over.
Posted by 34x42 on August 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 21
@19, just try to keep things civil here, OK? We can disagree with each other without calling each other names. You don't like being called a "jackass." Well, I'm sure slake didn't like what you called him any more.

That said, answer me this: What's the difference between a hate-fueled assault because he thinks you're gay and a hate-fueled assault because he doesn't like the looks of your face?
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on August 9, 2010 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 22
@13 my posting that was directed at the usual comical right-wing trolling by #1/#5
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on August 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Josh Bomb 23
when backwards baseball caps are outlawed, only outlaws will have backwards baseball caps.
Posted by Josh Bomb http://www.satanosphere.com on August 9, 2010 at 12:14 PM · Report this
24
This shit makes me depressed. It makes me even more depressed that this is common where I grew up. I'm not gay but a human being is a fucking human being. I hate bigot assholes but I don't physically assault them. If I disagree with someone I don't resort to violence like a child. Shit i'm sorry, most children i've met past the age of 2.5 have better manners than these animals.
Posted by tigntink on August 9, 2010 at 12:15 PM · Report this
SPG 25
#21 About the same difference as a lynching and a suicide by hanging...intent.
Posted by SPG on August 9, 2010 at 12:42 PM · Report this
26
@2 - Would you prefer the term "bias-motivated crime"? We're talking about people being attacked because of their identity alone, be it their religious beliefs, race or sexual orientation.

Besides, many crimes are caused by greed or desperation, not hate, so you wrong even on that stupidly oversimplified level.
Posted by BrinkleyBoy on August 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM · Report this
slake 27
Ok, this will be my last post on the matter, so I'm sure SPG will end up with the last word.

I sincerely doubt that a backward baseball cap wearing jackass who beats people up at midnight has a long term plan of assaulting a gay individual (do we even know if the victim was gay? Does it matter?) in order to instill fear in the LGBT community as a whole. (breath)

And I'm alright being called a pea brained, retarded jackass, but please refrain from calling me "right wing". As a proud liberal, I have my limits.

Ok, SPG, the stage is yours. Wow us with your intellect. I won't read it, but I'm sure whatever you write will be so amazing, you'll later read it while jerking off.

Posted by slake on August 9, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 28
I don't really agree with slake that "every crime is a hate crime", but I do blame posts like this for wearing out the term "hate crime". A burning cross on a lawn definitely seems like more of a hate crime than a random mugger.

Cienna, please don't call every crime involving some sort of slur a "hate crime". At least wait until the police charge them with a hate crime -- until then, you can say "Man Assaulted, Called 'Faggot'".

I would also note that while you used "allegedly" in the first sentence, you left out "alleged" in the title. I hope you don't get sued.
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 29
@28, thanks for the condescending note! "Allegedly" isn't needed in the title because the title has no subject. There's no one to libeled. If I'd written "Suspect Commits Hate Crime on Capitol Hill," I would need to include "allegedly," as I don't have access a direct narrative coming from the suspect (crime reports are usually written from the victim's point of view).

And as it happens, I know the victim, so I take particular offense at this *hate* crime and at anyone dismissing it as anything lesser than such. The argument that "a burning cross" is a more worthy of the being called a "hate crime" than someone calling someone else a faggot and then breaking their teeth in is too ridiculous to argue with.

In conclusion, bite me.

Posted by Cienna Madrid on August 9, 2010 at 2:24 PM · Report this
30
Well put, @28. I don't agree with slake's claims, but I've yet to see evidence of this actually being a hate crime. Hate crimes, IMHO, are more about terrorizing and targeting a specific group, not randomly running down the street shoving people who may-or-may-not be members of a minority.

That said, how awful for the victim. I hope he's able to get his teeth fixed and the lacerations heal without bad scars. There's something keenly personal about a facial injury.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on August 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 31
@30 that's a pretty high bar.

Too bad the law has a much lower bar.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 9, 2010 at 3:05 PM · Report this
32
Actually, Will, the law has a much higher bar.

Hate crimes are real, dangerous, and damaging far beyond their direct individual impact.

There is not evidence of a hate crime here, and so in conclusion, if the shoe fits, bite me.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on August 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 37
@34, There are three people in our news department and only two of us cover city issues. We cannot report on everything. If you have a tip on something that you think we're missing, you should email news@thestranger.com.

Thanks!
Posted by Cienna Madrid on August 9, 2010 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 38
@29, perhaps the fact that this is someone you know makes it too personal to report on. You might want to think about giving the facts of the situation to one of the other two news articles if you're not able to maintain objectivity.

And you'll note that in the sentence where you used "alleged", there was no perpetrator mentioned, just as there was no perpetrator mentioned in the title. (There was technically a "subject", but it was worded in the passive voice so that there was no one performing the action, only someone having the action performed on them).

By your own standards then, if you felt you needed "alleged" in the body, you needed "alleged" in the title.
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 39
*correction: one of the other two news reporters
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
julia09 40
The description of the attacker sounds like every dude-bro walking the streets. . .

and yeah, non-biased crime ≠ biased crime. A hate crime isn't "extra punishment" for a protected class of people. It's a different crime altogether. . . it's not even arguable.
Posted by julia09 on August 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 41
Also, @29, would you consider this to have been a hate crime if the perpetrator used the phrase "motherfucker" instead of "faggot"?

The argument that "a burning cross" is a more worthy of the being called a "hate crime" than someone calling someone else a faggot and then breaking their teeth in is too ridiculous to argue with.

Breaking someone's teeth in his a horrible crime, an assault. Burning a cross on someone's lawn is a horrible crime, a hate crime. You've obviously recognized that the use of "hate crime" instead of "assault" here is controversial -- but choosing to use that term, ironically, you've drawn attention away from the fact that your friend was brutally assaulted. (And for the record, I never said it wasn't a hate crime -- I just suggested you could call it "Man Assaulted, Called 'Faggot'". That title would have been far less distracting from the actual issue, which is a terrible assault that happened on my own street.)
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Basehead 42
Every time a guy attacks another guy, cheap or not, he calls him a faggot. Whatever happened to that hate crime Slog didn't report on where the white kid got his ass kicked by the black kid for being white?
Posted by Basehead on August 9, 2010 at 5:14 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 43
"Every time a guy attacks another guy, . . . he calls him a faggot."

This is true.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on August 9, 2010 at 5:26 PM · Report this
44
5' 11" 160 lbs?

Unless this cat is armed or like a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or something I don't think people should be losing any sleep. I suppose if you're real small guy. But really... 160lbs? Any 180-200lb average sized guy in decent shape with only a few weeks of boxing should be able cream that punk motherfucker.

Okay. I'll take that bet. Who ever you are I regularly walk around Harvard and Aloha late at night. I BEG you please try to attack me.
Posted by tkc on August 9, 2010 at 5:46 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 45
@38, um, what about my reporting wasn't objective?

I appreciate the care you've taken to troll me here, I really do.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on August 9, 2010 at 6:08 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 46
@45, if you really thought I was trolling, you probably wouldn't have posted yet again. I find it sad that you get so defensive about this (e.g. "In conclusion, bite me.") instead of recognizing that people can have legitimate differences of opinion on a term like "hate crime".

Regarding objectivity, what I said was, "perhaps the fact that this is someone you know makes it too personal to report on. You might want to think about giving the facts of the situation to one of the other two news articles if you're not able to maintain objectivity."

This was in response to:
A) That a number of commenters obviously found the post title provocative, causing the whole thing to derail, distracting from the real issue.
B) That you didn't seem to care that the title was derailing the post, concluding @29 with "bite me".
C) That you were obviously emotional about this, calling me "condescending" (and now a "troll").

Because of this, I suggested that you might want to consider handing over issues that feel too personal to a colleague if you wish to maintain objectivity. Clearly there are multiple commenters here who feel that "hate crime" is not an objective description of the event. I suggested a title that seemed much more clearly objective: "Man Assaulted, Called 'Faggot'", but you seem to have dismissed that in your "bite me" comment.

If you want something more, I can't point anything else out in the post itself, but your description of the event in your comment @29, "calling someone else a faggot and then breaking their teeth in" caused me to worry I'd misread the post, as I thought the victim had been shoved, not punched in the face. But no, rereading, I saw he had been shoved, causing him to fall to the sidewalk and chip several front teeth.

It really pains me that this whole thing has been derailed so badly. I live on Harvard, where this occurred, I'm gay, and I'm often out walking late at night. I've even been with straight friends where they've been called "faggot" in a similar way (though I haven't been myself). In short, this could have been me getting shoved to the pavement, getting lacerations to my nose, lip, and chin, and several broken teeth.
More...
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 8:13 PM · Report this
julia09 48
@46. . . um. . .difference of opinion?

nah. . . that's like a christian fundy saying the world is flat and evolution doesn't exist. . . and when people who live in reality call bullshit on it. . . the fundies will say: "Well. . . I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this controversy.

Biased-crime aka "hate crime" is not the same as non-biased crime. It's not a controversy or difference of opinion. . . your "opinion" is just a straw man argument to win at internets.

but whatever. . . it happens everyday, carry on.

zzzzz.
Posted by julia09 on August 9, 2010 at 8:36 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 49
@48, it's a difference of opinion on whether the events, as described in the post, are enough evidence on their own for a reasonable person to describe this as a hate crime.

If I'm angry and drunk and decide to punch the next person who comes down the street, that's assault. If the person's gay, does that transform that assault into a hate crime? How about if they're gay or straight, and I call them a "faggot", not because I believe they're gay but because I've called my opponent that in every fight I've been in since first grade, does that transform the assault into a hate crime?

I think there would be enough variation in responses to the questions above that reasonable people could have a difference of opinion.

Also, @48, did you read my entire comment? Your last paragraph (not counting the "zzzzz.") leads me to believe you didn't read my last paragraph. So, umm, I guess that means you win at internets?
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 8:55 PM · Report this
50
Q makes a commendable effort to sustain reasoned discourse here, while others are content to misrepresent or simply deny the record.

His buried paragraph appears to offer useful perspective. I'll take the liberty of lifting it into visibility here:
It really pains me that this whole thing has been derailed so badly. I live on Harvard, where this occurred, I'm gay, and I'm often out walking late at night. I've even been with straight friends where they've been called "faggot" in a similar way (though I haven't been myself). In short, this could have been me getting shoved to the pavement, getting lacerations to my nose, lip, and chin, and several broken teeth.


The incident as described seems more consistent with impulsive drunken belligerence than malicious harassment, and there are other missing pieces to the account, but from the report as given, we'll never know.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on August 9, 2010 at 9:14 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 51
@48, reading your post again, I notice that you seem to think it's my opinion that this was not a bias-motivated crime. And because that's my opinion, I'm soft-peddling "controversy" like the creationists do.

Well, you're wrong.

I think it's likely that this was a bias-motivated crime or hate crime, but I couldn't confidently conclude that based solely on the description of events in the post. I'm tossing in my own experience from living on the street where this assault happened, and since I'm not a news reporter, I'm a bit more free to jump to the description of this as a hate crime.

However, if I were a news reporter, I would have to set aside personal opinions and base the description of the event on the complaint as presented. That means I'd use something like "Man Assaulted, Called 'Faggot'", and if I wanted to bring up the term "hate crime" I'd do it in a factual way. This might include citing hate crime statistics for the neighborhood or getting a quote from the police saying how they decide whether to charge someone with a hate crime.

I do not think this is the case here, but let's say the next day it turned out that the victim had (not realizing it was the same guy) seen the perpetrator earlier in the evening in a bar and said "get out of my way, faggot". The description of how the victim was shoved and broke teeth and cut up his face would not have changed. However, we would have then seen an alternative, non-bias-motivated explanation for the exact same event. And that, @48, is why I prefer the title "Man Assaulted, Called 'Faggot'", over "Hate Crime on Capitol Hill".
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 9, 2010 at 9:25 PM · Report this
Telsa 52
@51: Cogently explained. Thank you.

@49: julia09, idle curiosity, but did you happen to name yourself that on SLOG because you perhaps came out of the closet as a transgender just last year (based on content from your past comments made in SLOG)? And suddenly with just a couple years of BLT — oh, sorry, I meant "RLT" — you're going to override and categorically dismiss an openly gay man's established life experiences of residency on Harvard (a street in a neighbourhood with disproportionately more gay and lesbian residents in its census tract/zoning-improvement plan than most other places), because you're now suddenly a bias-motivated specialist in crim? I'm going with QHH's applied observation.

I am sorry, but when I watch someone like you respond that way, make some comment about religious fundamentalists, and then instantly conclude from selected details in an unpublished (cf., not in the public blotter) police report which you haven't even seen that, paraphrased, "this must be a hate crime because the reporter said so," how is that really so different than when any reporter subjectively makes an on-the-fly editorial call (this being a blog, it's not exactly fit for publishing to dead tree and thus has little editorial red ink) which colours the facts collected during the open investigation? It's a knee-jerk conclusion borne from little more than biased supposition. Taken to an exaggerated level, isn't that the very game of subjective spin for which FOX are steadily guilty as charged?

I am quite aware that bias-motivated criminal assault and harassment are not imaginary and that there are by-laws increasingly in place to discourage criminal activity toward persons based on what they appear to represent. But like Q*Bert (so watch for those coiled snakes, then!), I've lived in places like Capitol Hill for years — whoa, I've even lived in Cap Hill before! — and I know the difference between being called a "you fucking dyke" and getting shoulder-bumped as my hold my girlfriend's hand, and being pummelled into next week while epithets of "one day your kind will be wiped off the face of the earth like polio" are grunted. In between, there's a sea of greys.

This open case is floating somewhere in that sea of grey. After we know more and after an investigation produces an indictment and conviction, then this shade might be better placed in context to an unambiguous, bias-motivated crime.

In the meantime, stick to what you know. Which is to say: not enough to know what happened last week on Harvard.
More...
Posted by Telsa on August 10, 2010 at 12:10 AM · Report this
julia09 53
@49:

RE: your angry/drunk/ faggot/assault example. . . yes, the words do mean something and words with even a **perceived** threat of an assault = a hate crime. . . when you call someone a faggot and then threaten or then hit someone, you are threatening / intimidating / attacking all members of that group, not just the individual. That's why it's not just a simple, non-biased assault:

"RCW 9A.36.080 Malicious harassment -- Definition:
(1) A person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her **perception** of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:
(a) Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;
(b) Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or
(c) Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property."

so I'd say, since the perp didn't steal money or seem to have any other motivation. . .

@51 . . . so your actual problem is that "alleged" isn't in the headline but only in the first sentence? . . . um. . . jeepers. . . all right-ee then.
Posted by julia09 on August 10, 2010 at 6:18 AM · Report this
Telsa 54
@53: Thoughtful. Not unlike the nuance of "me Tarzan, you Jane".

So if a queen gets into a smackdown with another queen sometime near bar closing hours — both inebriated — and one calls the other "stupid little faggot", followed by a a few nasty blows resulting in broken skin and bruises, is the loser a victim of a hate crime? Your binary reasoning would indicate yes.
Posted by Telsa on August 10, 2010 at 8:05 AM · Report this
Snappertuna 55
Unreported: Did the frat boy scream, "I'm a pitcher, not a catcher!" before the shove?
Posted by Snappertuna on August 10, 2010 at 8:56 AM · Report this
56
Here's a more definitive case of malicious harassment (and charged as such, even though it occurred in conjunction with strong-arm robbery), also on Harvard (at Pine), and separated from the incident in question by less than 24 hours.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/arc…
Posted by RonK, Seattle on August 10, 2010 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 57
@53, perhaps you misread my hypothetical @49, where I say "I call them a "faggot", not because I believe they're gay". You cited this bit of RCW: "**perception** of the victim's [...] sexual orientation" -- but the point of my exercise in @49 was that the use of that word was explicitly not due to perception of sexual orientation, but because the word's been used in every fight since first grade.

In @49, I wasn't saying that it's not reasonable for you to still think that should be described as a hate crime, what I was saying was that a reasonable person could disagree with you in a scenario like that. And that is why I would disagree with your statement that "It's not a controversy or difference of opinion. . . your "opinion" is just a straw man argument to win at internets. "

Also, @53, regarding your comment about the word "alleged", I didn't use that word anywhere in the post you're referring to (@51), so I have to assume you're talking about my comment @28 or @38, where you say "so your actual problem is that "alleged" isn't in the headline but only in the first sentence?" If you're trying to whether I would have been OK with "Alleged Hate Crime on Capitol Hill": that would be less bad, but I would not have used that term myself, because nowhere in the body does it state that the victim or police are calling it a hate crime (I would say that it is the reporter who is alleging that a hate crime is committed, while the victim is alleging that he was called a "faggot" and shoved to the ground).

My point in @28 was actually making a simpler structural argument. Let me break it down:

Title: "Hate Crime on Capitol Hill"
First line: "Last Monday, August 2, at just before midnight a man walking home along Harvard Avenue E was allegedly called a faggot and shoved to the ground ..."

There is no perpetrator mentioned in either the title or the first line, so I can see how a reporter might not feel "alleged" is necessary in either. However, because the reporter felt the need to include "alleged", then it should be used consistently, and the title is no exception to that. (Though as I've said far too many times now, I feel there are better choices for a title that are no less headline-grabbing).

My comment "I hope you don't get sued" was mostly tongue-in-cheek, as I've seen plenty of over-cautious use of "alleged" by reporters. Though it is also a serious reminder that were this the theoretical scenario I described in @46, the perpetrator would have been accused by the ("alleged"-less) post title of having committed a hate crime rather than an assault.
More...
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on August 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM · Report this
58
@53:

I agree with you (and disagree with @2 and @5) that crimes against individuals where the perpetrator is motivated by their perception of the victim's "race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap" are worse than crimes absent such motive.

However, the laws drafted against hate crimes seem difficult to correctly apply in the case of anti-gay attacks. As has been alluded to before, straight men often call men they actually perceive to be straight "faggot"; often before and during violent activity. This is probably a more common occurrence than gay-bashing, especially (and a bit ironically) in places with fewer openly gay men.

Unless the victim is holding hands with his boyfriend at the time of the attack, "I didn't really think he was gay" is a defense which should create reasonable doubt in the mind of a jury.

The use of the word "faggot" alone is not strong evidence that the attacker perceived the victim as gay.
Posted by kungfujew on August 10, 2010 at 5:36 PM · Report this
59
You guys are acting as if every time some guy punches another guy and calls him a "faggot," the FBI come swarming out. Give me a break.
Posted by kersy on August 11, 2010 at 4:05 PM · Report this
i'm pro-science and i vote 60
somewhere out there this asshole probably has a devoted girlfriend, a loving family, a decent job, and is getting away with this attack all at the same time.

next time you notice a fight on capitol hill, it might be best to pay more attention to it in case it's a situation like this. it might not be a couple guys who have a drunken beef with each other, which I often assume and therefore stay out of. It might be worse, as in a RANDOM attack motivated by homophobia
Posted by i'm pro-science and i vote http://www.prettyopenended.com on August 12, 2010 at 8:04 PM · Report this

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