D.C. police on Monday released a video that captured part of an incident in which three male suspects attacked two gay men early Sunday morning in the U St., N.W. entertainment district that police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
The video shows two of the suspects kicking and punching one of the victims in the head. It shows the second victim falling unconscious onto what appears to be a street crosswalk.
Police released a statement on Sunday saying one or more of the attackers yelled “homophobic slurs” at the victims during the attack.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday the images of the suspects in the video would be helpful to the ongoing police investigation into the incident.
“The images we’ve all seen, I think, are good enough where somebody may be able to identify the suspects in this case,” he said. “I’m very optimistic that someone in the community is going to let us know exactly who those folks are so we can hold them accountable for that assault.”
Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s Special Liaison Division, including the LGBT Liaison Unit, talked about the video and the incident at an earlier news conference Monday night at the site near 10th and U Street, N.W. where police believe the incident occurred about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, April 15.
Parson declined to say how police obtained the video. But Fox 5 News reports that a person standing near the incident filmed part of it on a cell phone and posted it to Twitter.
Police said the two victims were taken to a hospital Sunday morning and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Parson told reporters at the news conference on Monday that the two have been released from the hospital and were recuperating from the injuries they sustained from the attack.
A police report of the incident released early Monday says one of the victims suffered a broken nose and chipped tooth. The report says the other victim had been knocked unconscious and according to a Facebook posting by a friend suffered a concussion.
Police released the video less than an hour after they released several fuzzy still photos of the three suspects that appeared to be taken from the video.
In a statement accompanying the still photos and video, police reiterated that at least one of the suspects “yelled homophobic slurs” at the victims during the attack.
The latest statement calls on members of the public to contact police if they recognize one or more of the three attackers in the photos or video.
“Anyone who can identify these individuals or who has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s Text Tip Line at 50411,” the statement says.
Similar to the earlier police statement, the statement accompanying the video and photos provides a description of each of the suspects: “Suspect One—A black male, between 20-25 years of age, wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants and gray high-top sneakers…” Suspect Two is described as a “black male between 20-25 years of age, wearing dark clothes with distinctive shoes” as shown in the photo.
Suspect Three is described in the police statement as a “heavy set black male between 20-25 years of age, wearing a white shirt, jeans, red boxers and dark shoes.”
Friends of the victims have identified them on social media as D.C. residents Michael Creason and Zack Link, both of whom are said to work as sign language interpreters.
Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, the supervisor of the LGBT Liaison Unit, accompanied Parson at Monday night’s news conference.
“This violent criminal act does not serve the District of Columbia and it certainly doesn’t reflect the D.C. values that we hold true here in the District of Columbia,” Parson said at the news conference.
“We take these very seriously and we know that while it was a crime against two individuals that were injured here, there are many, many other people, not just in the LGBT community, but in the surrounding neighborhood and also their friends, family members and co-workers, who may be impacted by a crime like this,” he said.
“And that is why it is so important that members of the community who may have information to get that information to us so that we can bring these people to justice,” Parson told reporters.