June 26, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Attacker says drag performer threatened to give her AIDS
Miles DeNiro, Manny & Olga's, hate crime, gay news, Washington Blade

Miles Denaro, 24, says he was attacked by two women who called him a ‘tranny’ and ‘faggot.’ (Screen capture)

One of two women shown in a video posted online punching and kicking a gay male drag performer while pulling him by his hair inside a D.C. carryout restaurant has filed a police report accusing the man of biting her leg and telling her “now you have AIDS.”

The report given by the woman, which D.C. police made public Tuesday afternoon, was the latest development stemming from an incident early Sunday morning, June 23, at Manny & Olga’s pizzeria on 14th Street, N.W., in which Miles Denaro, 24, says he was attacked by two women who called him a “tranny” and “faggot.”

Denaro said he bit the women in self-defense but denies he ever told her she had or would get AIDS.

He said he came to the restaurant to take out food shortly after he performed under his drag name Heidi Glum at the Black Cat nightclub located on the same block as Manny & Olga’s. He was in drag when he entered the restaurant.

The video shows the two women hitting Denaro with their fists while dragging him by his hair across the floor of the restaurant as bystanders, including a man taking the video, laughed and cheered.

According to Denaro, no one, including about six Manny & Olga employees, came to his aid during the assault.

Denaro said he chose not to call police at the time of the assault. He filed a separate police report on Monday, June 24, accusing the two women of assaulting him. He told the Blade the assault began after one of the women made fun of his makeup and words were exchanged between them, prompting one of the women to slap him in the face twice.

“Then I flipped out,” he 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.

He initially identified himself to the media as Miles DeNiro. When asked by the Blade why the police report spelled his last name as Denaro, he said he has used “DeNiro” as a stage name and that his legal birth name is Denaro.

The police report taken from the woman, who is identified as Rachel Manna Sahle, 22, of Gaithersburg, Md., classifies her biting allegation against Denaro as a felony aggravated assault that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The police report taken from Denaro classifies the assault by the two women against him as a misdemeanor simple assault, which has a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said police would have no comment on any details of the case because it remains under investigation. No arrests had been made in the case as of Wednesday.

It couldn’t immediately be determined why the police reports classified the woman’s allegation as a more serious offense than Denaro’s complaint – which is backed up by the video – that the two women injured him in a violent attack.

Denaro told the Blade he did, in fact, bite Sahle on her leg but said he did so in self-defense in a desperate attempt to get her to stop pulling out his hair. He denies telling her she had or would get AIDS.

“She was ripping my hair out,” he said. “I have a bag full of my own hair that I picked up off the floor. She ripped my hair out repeatedly. There was nothing I could do to get her off of me because the other girl was on top of me and she was really huge.”

Added Denaro, “At that time, with my face on the ground in her legs, the only thing to help get out of it was to bite her. It didn’t draw any blood. I don’t think I broke the skin. I just bit her hard enough so that she would let go of me. And it worked. She did.”

The police report of Sahle’s allegation against Denaro says Sahle gave a different version of what happened from that of Denaro.

The report says Sahle told police Denaro “became verbally combative” with her at the restaurant. It says Sahle claims that after she and Denaro exchanged words “several people began to fight inside the establishment.” During that altercation, Denaro “bent down and bit Complainant 1 [Sahle] on the right thigh.”

It says that shortly after biting her Denaro stated, “That’s why I bit you, now you have AIDS, bitch.”

Based on the conflicting statements made by Denaro and Sahle, police investigators and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office will have to decide who to believe and who to charge with a possible crime such as assault.

Denaro told the Blade that he is HIV positive. The video shows him shouting at the other woman who assaulted him that she would get AIDS as he wiped blood dripping over his face. He said the blood came from two head wounds he sustained when the women knocked him down and his head hit the floor.

“I was doing what I thought was the responsible thing to do – to tell the girl I’m positive,” he said.

The police report taken from Denaro says Denaro told police that the two women started the altercation when one of them criticized his makeup and started touching his face. The report taken from Denaro contradicts the report taken from Sahle by saying the altercation was limited to Denaro and the two women.

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

7 Comments
  • This is disgusting. The two girls and anyone egging them on should be charged with a hate crime. Instead, they criminalize a person for defending himself because he is HIV+ If no one from Manny & Olga’s called the police immediately, they should lose their business license.

  • Looks like a hate crime to me. Looks like an entire restaurant full of people participating in the beating of a drag queen. Does anyone else see anything different?

  • Jose carrabbas Tu Quiero Taco Bell Feliciano

    Well actually watch again the Drag Queen threw the first punch so actually it could be self defense!

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    I was disgusted after viewing the video. However, I was more disgusted by the racist whites and latinos referring to blacks as the N word. Racism exist big time in the mostley white community and black gays are treated like second class citizens by white priviledge gay men. Being born white or Caucasian in the United States affords one white privilege.

    • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

      Correction: Racism exist in the mostly white gay community and black gays are treated like second class citizen in the gay community.

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