August 4, 2010 at 2:48 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Cobalt staffer suffers broken jaw in attack

Gregory ‘Sean’ Morris, an employee of the gay bar Cobalt, suffered a broken jaw during a mugging last month. The attack is not being treated as a hate crime. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

One of two unidentified men who broke the jaw of an employee of the D.C. gay bar Cobalt during a mugging last month apparently left an insulting message on the victim’s Facebook page using his stolen cell phone.

Gregory “Sean” Morris, 32, said two men attacked and robbed him at 5 a.m. Sunday, July 25, at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Lamont Street, N.W., as he was on his way home from work.

Morris said one of the attackers appeared to have accessed his Facebook page a few days after the mugging through the use of his cell phone, which was stolen during the attack. According to Morris, the person published a message written as if it came from Morris.

“I wanted to bust a nut but I can’t because my jaw hurts so bad,” he quoted the message as saying.

Police have listed the attack as robbery by force and violence. There was no immediate evidence of a hate crime, Morris said, because the attackers did not say anything to him as they robbed and assaulted him.

Morris noted that he was wearing a Cobalt shirt when he was attacked, but didn’t know if the attackers recognized the name as that of a gay bar.

The incident took place near where Morris exited a Metro bus and was walking to catch a second bus to take him closer to his home in Northwest D.C.

He said he recalls being knocked unconscious and waking up as one of the attackers dragged him from the sidewalk down a stairwell leading to the basement entrance of a house or building. He noted that one of the attackers punched him in the jaw as the other removed a backpack from his back.

“I realized immediately that they had broken it,” Morris said of his jaw. “They didn’t say a word to me.”

The only words spoken were when one assailant instructed the other to “hit me” when they realized he had regained consciousness, Morris told the Blade in a phone interview. He eventually managed to flag down a police car and was quickly taken to Howard University Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to repair his jaw, which is now wired shut and will remain that way for eight weeks.

Morris, who works at Cobalt as a light technician and an independent events promoter, does not have medical insurance. Cobalt employees and friends have contributed to a fund to help him pay his doctor and hospital bills. He has also applied for compensation from the city’s victim assistance program, which provides some financial aid to victims of crime.

After taking his backpack, wallet, watch, and a small amount of cash, the two men left him in the stairwell and began to walk away, Morris said. As he struggled out of the stairwell and reached for his phone to call for help, Morris noticed the two attackers were watching him.

“I reached to see if they had taken my phone out of my pocket and they hadn’t,” Morris said. “They realized they hadn’t and they turned around and they came back to rob me again. They took my phone out of my pocket.”

The man who assaulted him in the stairwell then “hit me again,” he said.

Morris is hoping police will be able to track the suspects through cell phone records and any use of his stolen credit cards.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Its always dis-heartning to hear someone is robbed by thugs and those who cannot function in society the way others do each and everyday….Choosing to take from hardworking individuals and have no regard for life in general. Having said that people who leave places late at night should try and have a few others with them so as to ward off such things like this

  • A true shame. Under current DC law, these criminals will most likley get a slap on the wrist. DC needs to strengthen victim’s rights!!

  • I also believe this should be invested as a gay-related assault. There is a continual and ongoing assault on gay people in the District by these thugs. I don’t understand how you folks can continue to live in DC? Move to VA which is very diverse, and Northern Virginia is very pro-gay. It is certainly safer than the swill-pit that DC has become.

  • They need to wire the city up with CCTV like london, not sure why dc doesnt do this

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