D.C. police put out a call for help this week in their investigation into five separate attacks against male victims in the city between June 2 and July 30 that investigators believe were motivated by anti-gay bias.
“In an attempt to raise community awareness and solicit information from the public, the Metropolitan Police Department is releasing this information relative to our ongoing investigation into a number of crimes as possible bias-related crimes,” according to a police e-mail alert sent to LGBT activists.
“Moreover, MPD is examining the cases for possible similarities. However, at this time, it has not been determined that these incidents are related,” the e-mail message says.
The alert says the first of the string of incidents took place June 2 about 5:20 p.m. along the 1500 block of R Street, N.W., when three young male suspects approached a male victim as he was “bending over to tie his shoe.” It says one of the suspects used a “homophobic epithet” before he or the other one struck the victim with a wooden object. It describes the suspects only as young black men.
On July 6 at about 9:20 p.m. a male victim was approached by two male suspects along the 800 block of Emerson Street, N.W. and knocked to the ground and assaulted while one of the suspects called him an anti-gay name, the police alert says.
The alert doesn’t disclose the names of any of the victims in the five incidents. In this incident, the victim, 29-year-old D.C. resident Francisco Martin, contacted the Blade shortly after the assault occurred to tell what happened, saying one of the attackers struck him in the head with a strip of plywood.
Martin, a makeup artist, described the suspects as black males, with one appearing between 30 to 35 years old, about 5’ 11” to 6’ tall and weighing between 170 and 180 pounds with a short haircut and wearing a white tank top and blue shorts. He said the other suspect appeared between 25 and 30, was between 5’7” and 5’8” tall and weighed about 150 pounds, with short black hair, a goatee, and wearing a yellow Polo shirt and jeans.
The alert says the third incident took place shortly after midnight on July 24, when the victim says he was approached by several black males after walking outside a club on the 2000 block of P Street, N.W. near Dupont Circle. “It is alleged that the assailants approached the victim and asked if the victim called them a homophobic epithet,” the police alert says
“At this point, the victim was knocked to the ground, assaulted and kicked,” it says. “When the victim attempted to call police from his cell phone, two of the suspects returned, assaulted him more, grabbed his cell phone and fled.” It says the victim described one of the suspects as having a dark complexion, weighing about 170 pounds and wearing a red shirt.
The next incident took place July 27 when “approximately six black males approached a male victim as he entered the lobby of a building in the 1400 block of R Street, N.W.,” the alert says. It says one of the suspects made an anti-gay remark as he and the others “began punching and kicking the victim.” It says the victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries. It describes the suspects as black males in their teens.
The last of the five incidents occurred July 30 at about 1:45 a.m. as a male victim “was leaving an establishment at 22nd and P Streets, N.W. It says a “subject bumped into him and used a homophobic epithet.” It says the victim walked away but the subject and as many as 15 to 20 other “black males and black females” followed the victim. One or more of the people following him struck him from behind and knocked him to the ground, according to the police alert. It says the suspects fled in three vehicles, including a white Chevy Impala, a blue Toyota Corolla, and a Silver Dodge Charger with Virginia license plates.
The police alert says that anyone with information about the five incidents should call police at 202-727-9099 or 1-888-919-2746. It says people with information may also call the department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit at 202-727-5427.