June 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Bystanders cheer as women attack, beat D.C. drag performer
Miles DeNiro, Manny & Olga's, hate crime, gay news, Washington Blade

Miles DeNiro (Screen capture)

A male drag performer was punched, kicked, and dragged by his hair on the floor at the Manny & Olga’s pizzeria on 14th Street, N.W., about 2 a.m. Sunday by two female attackers in an incident that was captured on video taken by a bystander who cheered the attackers.

An official with the D.C. police department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit said police were investigating the incident and were reviewing the video, which had been posted on at least two websites, to determine the identity of the attackers. The incident was expected to be classified as a hate crime.

Miles DeNiro, 24, who had just performed under his drag name Heidi Glum at the nearby Black Cat nightclub, said he suffered cuts and bruises to his head and upper body and had clumps of hair pulled from his head in an encounter he described as horrifying and traumatic.

“I had ordered some food and was waiting and one girl approached me and she started touching my face, telling me I needed to blend my makeup,” DeNiro told the Washington Blade.

DeNiro, who said he identifies as a gay man, said he was dressed in drag after just having completed a performance at the Black Cat.

He said he asked the woman not to touch him and to “please back off” when another woman approached him and began calling him a “tranny” and “shouted insults at me saying I was a man and a faggot.” He said he shouted back as the name-calling escalated and one of the women slapped him in the face twice.

“Then I flipped out,” DeNiro said. “I spit in her face and her friend jumped in and they started dragging me around by my hair while punching me in the face repeatedly and kicking me,” he said. “They had me held down on the ground and they were pulling my hair out.”

The video shows the two women dragging and punching him before knocking him to the floor as bystanders shouted and cheered. An unidentified man who took the video can be heard repeatedly shouting and screaming the words “World Star,” which refers to a hip hop music website, on which the video was later posted.

The video shows DeNiro wiping blood from his forehead which he said came from at least two cuts on his head sustained when he was knocked to the floor.

Someone also posted the video on YouTube, but the popular video website took down the video a short time later and posted a message saying, “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy on shocking and disgusting content.”

The video, which was also posted on the site liveleak.com, shows one of the Manny & Olga’s employees walking past where the women were punching DeNiro while carrying out several boxes of pizzas.

“There were five or six workers behind the counter or in the kitchen area and none of them did anything to stop it,” DeNiro said.

The assault ended, according to DeNiro, when two men walked into the restaurant from the sidewalk and pulled the two women away from him.

“I don’t know who they are but they appeared to have seen what was happening through the window and came in to help,” he said.

DeNiro said two friends who were with him drove him home. He said he chose not to call police at the time of the incident but reported the attack to police Monday afternoon at the Third Police District at 17th and V Street, N.W.

Sgt. Matt Mahl, supervisor of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, said police first learned about the incident a few hours earlier when Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, emailed a link to the video of the incident to the GLLU office. Rosendall told the Blade he received the video in an email sent by one of DeNiro’s friends, who also sent a link to the video to the Blade and other news media outlets.

Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump told the Blade a second police report was filed by a party other than DeNiro related to an incident at Manny & Olga’s, but she didn’t identify who the other party was.

A man who identified himself only as Jamie and said he was a manager at Manny & Olga’s, located at 1841 14th Street, N.W., said the owners of the carry out restaurant were cooperating with police. He said the owners agreed to a request by police to show investigators footage from Manny & Olga’s in-house video surveillance cameras taken at the time of the incident. He said police were scheduled to view the video at 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.

“It’s my understanding that someone here did call the police and the police came,” Jamie told the Blade.

But DeNiro said police did not come before he left the restaurant to go home sometime after 2 a.m. on June 23. He said police could have arrived for an unrelated incident at the restaurant on a night in which he said “a lot of rowdy people” were on the street outside and inside Manny & Olga’s.”

DeNiro said he regrets that when he arrived home and observed the extent of his injuries, including damage to his scalp where hair had been pulled from its roots, that he posted two messages on his Twitter account using a racial slur to describe one of the two women attackers who is black.

The LGBT news website Queerty, which posted a story about the assault against DeNiro, quoted DeNiro’s Twitter postings, which used the “N” word.

The Queerty story prompted at least 20 readers to post comments debating one another over whether DeNiro’s racial comment should overshadow the significance of the assault, which many readers said was motivated by anti-gay and anti-trans prejudice.

“I was angry. I was irritated,” DeNiro told the Blade. “I said some things that I of course regret. I can’t change the past but I can only move forward and learn from this to become a better person.”

hate crime, Manny & Olga's, gay news, Washington Blade

A video of the altercation involving drag performer Miles DeNiro early Sunday morning at Manny & Olga’s pizzeria on 14th Street, N.W., shows these two women assaulting DeNiro as one of them drags him by his hair across the floor. (Screen capture)

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

  • DC guy

    I just read the article… he apparently physically attacked them first. This is going to be a hot mess.

    • Sarah Bellum

      Wrong. She came up to him and touched his face. He asked her to not. She did it anyways. Arguement ensues, she slapped him, he spit on her, then they physical altercation started@

      The simple act of touching his face is assault. Assault is unwanted physical contact. THEN, she slapped him, TWICE. More assault.

  • brian

    **It does not matter that he is a drag artist or even if he is transvestite, he still has the right to walk through the streets amongst these bigoted people without been assaulted. Hope the police catch these women and charge them.**
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    In Mayor Gray’s MPD, few people get arrested for hate crimes. Gray is soft on violent hate crimes– and violent crimes in general. So that’s not likely to happen.

  • Milancita Rodriguez

    I am so Sad, after watch this Video my day change at all. I am crying, I feel Hurt.!!!
    How this things still happen in this Country.?
    Why People don’t remember who start The Civil Right Movement.
    I would like to tell those African Girls (in the video):
    That in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 were a series of spontaneous, demonstrations by members of the gay community (mostly TRANGENDERS, and TRAVESTIES) against a police raid that took place , at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.
    After that date very contentious, as many social movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, The liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.
    The Civil Rights Movement start that Morning, Civil Rights that You and I as many of You enjoy Today.!!!
    The People who ATTACK one Of Our Member need to punished with the Full Weight of the Law for this Hate Crime.

    Momma Monster
    Miami Florida

    • Iden

      Rodriguez, please go back and learn your history. The civil rights movement went in full effect when Rosa Parks refused to get up from that bus seat. Now please look that date up and come back and edit your comments. Did Sylvia Rivera start the modern day civil rights movement for the LGBTQ community, yes she did. You also need to know that once the white community got through using her they discarded her light the trash they think POC are. You have the surname of Rodriguez so I am assuming you are of Latino/Latina decent and if you are you should know this piece of history even though it is not taught in schools. For the record I am a black trans man!

  • Chris

    WOW…Some white gays really kill me with these n***er comments! Just goes to show you how racially divided the LGBTQ Community Always has been!

    • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

      Chirs the mostly white gay community is racist towards black gays. Many light skin or white Hispanics with European features are accepted by white America.

  • Ali

    This story seems really overblown. I wasn’t there (I’m sure a lot of us who are commenting now weren’t). But I did watch the fight from beginning to end on worldstarhiphop.com and it clearly looked like he started and instigated the fight. The smaller girls is who he begun the fight with, he was all In her face while she was ordering her food. And the larger girl only got involved when it started to appear like he was about to get physical and try to overpower her. And you could tell he was wrong because his “friends” didn’t even try to help him. They watched him get his ass handed to him and did nothing. Then when he lost he told the girl she had aids because she made him bleed! And I should add the only slur I heard was “bitch”. Nothing about him being gay. And nobody was cheering except the guy recording who kept saying “worldstar, worldstar” all over again – which was idiotic. You guys can’t all seriously believe this is a hate crime. It looked more to me like everybody was drunk on a Friday and made some bad choices. Please, go on worldstar and watch the video. It will probably change your minds http://m.worldstarhiphop.com/apple/video.php?v=wshhNiIhD9LtwC90IEU3

  • laura

    The 2 women have to go in JAIL for this ,is all recorded .discrimination ,attacking , violent etc..

    Police must take the 2 women and put them in prison ! for safety of society !

  • iva

    If is Justice in this world ..The 2 women have to go in Jail ,where belong and pay the harm what they coz .Shame

  • Geraldi B

    Ugh… minorities

  • Angela

    I think that most upsetting thing about this whole thing is that NO ONE intervened or even tried to help. This should never had escalated to that point. Those women need to be in prison since they clearly have some unresolved violent tendencies.

    • Iden

      Sending a copy of this to Ruth Chris in the am, let me now it goes for you at work tomorrow.

    • Iden

      Thank you Kim! It’s sickening to read the comments posted on here and these people really believe what they say. One City!!!!

    • Iden

      There were two women fighting him Juan, what do you call the other one?

      • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

        You better read that Boricua! Many Puerto Ricans and other Latinos are considered white in this country and in Latin America or Puerto Rico.

  • earthblues

    So the idiot who filmed this just filmed himself instigating violence (“hey, beat her ass!”)? I hope he gets prosecuted too.

  • To the victim of this horrible hate crime and the stabing in SE this past weekend, my love and support as you emerge a survivor of these hateful individuals, please seek support so you don’t have to deal with this alone. I and many others have already supported others going thru situations.
    To the owner and manager of many and Olga’s SHAME ON YOU, for years you have allowed and patronized hate against our community allowing your straight patrons commit hate crimes against us, right before your eyes and you have never stepped up against this kind of behavior @ your establishment, your businnes license should be revoked immediately.

    To the LGBT community, please be aware of your surroundings, please take precautions so you dont become the next target. Never walk alone specially when you are expressing yourself outside of the gender norms that society imposes on us.
    Hate against LGBT people in this city has no color, race, economic background, social status, sexual orientation, gender identity and or expression. Please be aware of this.

    In the eyes and hearts of haters homophobia and Transphobia is alive and until the authorities and the lgbt community don’t stand together to say enough is enough and we demand respect for our community, we demand actions from our government such as enforcement of current hate crimes laws on the books, more education and awareness campaings of the effects of this hate crimes on our community and society in general, we will continue enduring more hate from those who feed homophobia and transphobia based on our lack of action.
    Everyone is invited to the DC center this Friday at 5:30pm to take action against this hateful
    Crimes against us.
    Be there, don’t allow hate against us continue.

  • Pingback: Attacker says drag performer threatened to give her AIDS | DC Crime : Washington Blade – America's Leading Gay News Source()

  • Shorty

    Arm yourselves. It’s only going to get worse under Fascist rule

  • Pingback: Scrapbook of Truth » Blog Archive » The fuck, DC?()

  • Iden

    I came here to show my support Miles because I consider him a part of my community, I’m a trans man who happens to be black and live in DC. But I am disgusted at the comments on this thread so much so that I cannot not leave a condolence because the negativity here is so outrageous. Instead of sending consoling words to Miles you send messages of hate to continue to fuel his anger. You send these messages of hate to a man that was beaten in a public place where about a dozen bystanders stood by laughing and making jokes and among these bystanders were his friends who could be seen in the back ground not doing anything to stop the madness. It hurts my heart to read such hatred, it hurts my heart even more to read such hatred from citizens that live in the same city as I do. I wish peace on all of you who wrote mean, hateful and spiteful responses on this thread because your going to need it in the days to come when this goes to court and all the tantalizing details are published. To support someone you should be supportive in not just words but action and right now I don’t see a much support for Miles.

    • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

      Mark, I don’t think both women were black. One appeared to be Hispanic or Latina.

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