July 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay man recounts ‘vicious’ hate crime

A 29-year-old gay man said he was knocked to the ground and beaten by two male attackers who called him anti-gay names while punching and kicking him as he was walking home this month from a Georgia Avenue bus stop.

Francisco Martin, a makeup artist who describes himself as openly gay, said one of the two attackers struck him in the face and head July 6 with a nine-inch wide sheet of plywood while the other knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the head and body.

D.C. police have listed the incident as a bias-related crime and are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying suspects. The department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit is assisting in the investigation. Police said the attack took place along the 600 block of Emerson St., N.W.

“I just tried to cover my face; I just started yelling, ‘stop, stop,’ and they just wouldn’t stop,” Martin told the Blade in a phone interview. “They just [kept] beating me until they ripped my shirt off. I was on the ground bleeding.”

Martin said he managed to walk about three blocks to his home after the attackers stopped beating him and left the scene.

He said he called 911 and police and paramedics arrived at his home within minutes. According to Martin, he declined an offer by the paramedics to take him to a hospital after the paramedics examined him and determined his injuries were not life threatening.

Martin said the attackers made no attempt to rob him, a development that leads him to believe they singled him out because they believed him to be gay.

“They were saying like ‘faggot’ or all these derogatory things,” said Martin, who is Latino.

Capt. Edward Delgado, commander of the police’s Special Liaison Unit that includes the GLLU, said Latinos have been targeted in a rash of street robberies in recent weeks in Petworth, the neighborhood where Martin was attacked.

Delgado released information about the incident involving Martin in an e-mail to community activists, calling it a “vicious” attack that appears to be the first LGBT-related hate crime in the Petworth area in recent years. He did not disclose Martin’s name.

Martin later contacted the Blade about the attack, saying he wanted to speak out about the “terrible problem of hate crimes” in D.C.

Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence has pointed to statistics showing D.C. having the nation’s highest rate of reported hate crimes against LGBT people in a major metropolitan area.

Martin said he is cooperating with police and is hopeful that the investigation will result in the arrest of the two men who attacked him.

He said the incident began around 8:30 p.m. when he noticed a group of young men staring at him and laughing as he was walking along Emerson Street from the Georgia Avenue bus stop.

He said he began running after he noticed two men were following him. The two chased after him and caught up to him on the 600 block of Emerson Street where they started beating him, he recalled.

Martin described the man who struck him with the plywood board as black with a dark complexion, and appearing in his mid to late 20s, about 5 feet, 7 inches, weighing about 150 pounds, having an athletic build, a light mustache and goatee with short hair, and wearing a yellow Polo shirt and jeans.

Martin said the second attacker was black with a dark complexion and appeared to be in his mid 30s. He described him as being about 5 feet, 11 inches, weighing about 180 pounds, having an athletic build, a short haircut and no facial hair, and wearing a white tank top with large blue shorts.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the Fourth District police detective’s office at 202-715-7506 or the police department’s hotline at 1-800-673-2777.

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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