D.C. police are investigating a Feb. 22 incident at the Hope Village Halfway House in Southeast Washington in which a 39-year-old male resident of the facility was attacked and beaten because he’s gay, according to the victim’s sister.
Missy Payton said a detective working on the case told her the assault against her brother Isaac Payton has been classified as a hate crime and that the attacker fled the house without permission. She said the detective told her police were obtaining a warrant for his arrest but he had not been found as of Tuesday.
Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said the police report for the incident wasn’t completed for public release as of Tuesday but would be released later in the week.
“My brother told me he was resting on a sofa in his room and half asleep when a man from another room came in and started punching and kicking him,” Missy Payton said.
She said her brother told her the attacker repeatedly shouted, “I told you to keep your gay ass out of my way” as he continued to assault Isaac Payton. “My brother never said anything to the man that attacked him,” she said.
She said that according to her brother’s account of the incident, two of his three roommates who were present when the assault started told the attacker, “that’s enough” when they noticed her brother’s head was bleeding.
It was at that point that the attacker fled the room and, as Hope Village officials discovered later, fled the house and did not return.
Her brother was taken to a hospital, where he received stitches to treat a head wound, Missy Payton said.
She said her brother told her that one of his roommates was friends with the attacker and had told him shortly after her brother arrived at the house on Jan.31 that he disliked him because of his gay “lifestyle,” of which he did not approve.
When asked how the roommate knew her brother was gay, she said Isaac Payton is “openly gay” and is recognized as being gay by most people who see him “because of his appearance.”
A Hope Village official who would only identify himself as Mr. Verone told the Blade by phone that he was not authorized to speak with the media.
“I can say an incident did happen,” he said. “It is being investigated. Mr. Payton’s safety is assured.”
Missy Payton, however, said her brother told her he doesn’t feel safe and is fearful that someone else may assault him.
The Hope Village website says the facility, which is located at 2840 Langston Pl., S.E., is operated by a private company under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.