D.C. police have listed an Oct. 27 beating of a 23-year-old gay Latino man outside his apartment in Columbia Heights as a hate crime based on the victim’s sexual orientation and ethnicity.
The victim, who asked not to be identified, told the Blade four or five males appearing in their 20s shouted anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs at him before one of the men assaulted him and knocked him unconscious.
The incident occurred about 3 a.m. a short time after the victim noticed the men were following him as he was walking from a bus stop near 16th and Lamont Sts., N.W. to his residence on the 1400 block of Meridian Pl., N.W.
“It happened right outside my building,” he said.
He said he suffered broken teeth, a facial wound, and a concussion.
David Perez, president of the D.C.-based Latino LGBT History Project and a friend of the victim, told the Blade in an email message that he contacted the police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit after learning that an initial police report didn’t list the attack as a hate crime.
Perez said the attackers called the victim a “fag” and a “spic” at the time of the incident.
The victim told the Blade he was concerned that officers taking the report at the scene of the beating didn’t ask for many details. However, he acknowledges that he isn’t certain whether he told the officers responding to his call for help that the attackers called him anti-gay and anti-Latino names.
“I was in pain and badly shaken up,” he said. He said he called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital after he talked to the officers.
He said that although the attackers took a messenger bag from him they made no attempt to rob him of his wallet and cell phone, which he was holding at the time of the attack. He said he learned later that the attackers discarded the bag in someone’s yard about a block from where the attack occurred and didn’t remove any items inside the bag, leading him to believe robbery wasn’t the motive for the attack.
Perez said in his email that GLLU Officer Joseph Morquecho, who interviewed the victim a few days after the attack, amended the police report by listing the incident as a bias crime.
Police, meanwhile, are looking for witnesses that may have seen the incident or who may know the identity of one or more of the men who participated in the attack. The victim described the attackers as black males appearing in their early to middle 20s. He said just one of the young men physically assaulted him and he would recognize that person if he were to see him again.