June 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
UPDATE: 2 men doused with bleach leaving Black Whiskey bar

UPDATE: According to Sgt. Brett Parson of the D.C. Police LGBT Liaison Unit, the victims in this bleach attack were patrons of Black Whiskey and not of Trade. The original Blade report of this incident was based on the police report, which doesn’t say which of the two bars the victims had been patronizing; an interview with a police spokesperson, and an account by a gay patron of Trade who witnessed part of the incident but mistakenly reported that the victims were Trade customers. Black Whiskey is located directly above the gay bar Trade. A corrected version of the story follows:

Two customers of the D.C. bar Black Whiskey were hospitalized shortly after midnight on Wednesday, June 21, after someone threw a bottle of bleach at them from the second floor window of Black Whiskey and which landed on a section of the sidewalk where both Black Whiskey and Trade patrons go to smoke.

According to a D.C. police report of the incident, the two male victims were standing on the sidewalk outside the nearby entrances of both bars before being doused in bleach.

“Complainant 1, Complainant 2, and Witness 1 report that after getting in a verbal dispute with two subjects in front of the Black Whiskey and Trade nightclubs, Suspect 1 threw a bottle of bleach out of a second floor window of the Black Whiskey,” the police report says.

“The bleach covered Complainant 1 and Complainant 2 and got into their eyes,” the report says. “Suspect 1 then fled this scene, exiting the Black Whiskey from a rear door,” the report says.

“D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Ambulance No. 9 responded to the scene” and transported the two victims to Howard University Hospital, according to the police report.

Zach Link, a Trade customer who witnessed part of the incident, said he heard a crashing sound and saw that a large plastic jug of bleach with no cap on it had landed on the sidewalk beside the two victims, splashing bleach on their bodies and faces.

The police report lists the incident as an assault with a dangerous weapon. It identifies the two male victims as residents of Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army facility in Missouri. The report doesn’t say whether the two men were active duty members of the Army or another military branch.

“At this time we don’t have an indication this is a hate/bias crime,” D.C. police spokesperson Margarita Mikhaylova told the Washington Blade in an email. “This case is actively being investigated and should circumstances arise that indicate hate/bias it will be investigated as such,” she said.

The police report says the incident took place about 12:40 a.m. on Wednesday, June 21.

Representatives of Trade and Black Whiskey couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A review of Black Whiskey appearing in Washingtonian Magazine says it opened on the second floor of 1410 14th St., N.W. in 2013.

Link said the bleach bottle could not have landed where it did accidentally because an awning several feet long extends over the front door of Trade. He said if the bottle fell out the window accidently it would have landed on the awning and would not have reached the place where the two victims were standing.

He said employees of Trade brought water bottles and rags to help remove the bleach from the victims’ eyes and face while an ambulance was on its way. Link said he didn’t see anyone from Black Whiskey come out to assist the two men who were doused by the bleach.

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

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