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Safeway assault case still open

Unidentified woman sought in July attack on gay man

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Safeway, gay news, Washington Blade
Safeway, gay news, Washington Blade

This unidentified female suspect remains at large after allegedly assaulting a gay man at a Safeway.

An unidentified female suspect captured on video assaulting a gay man at a Safeway store at 5th and L Streets, N.W., on July 2 while calling him “faggot” remains at large more than a month after the incident sparked widespread interest on social media.

“This case is still open and under investigation,” said D.C. police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump. “No arrest at this time.”

The victim of the alleged assault, local Realtor Mark Rutstein, 40, told the Blade at the time of the incident that the suspect began punching him in the face and calling him a faggot seconds after he approached her at a customer service counter and politely asked her if she was standing in line.

In attempting to defend himself Rutstein said he pulled the woman to the floor by her hair and held her down while screaming for security to help him. He said he released the woman when security guards and an assistant manager arrived.

But to his dismay and over his objections, the guards and the assistant manager escorted the woman to the door and allowed her to flee, according to Rutstein. He said the manager then refused his request to call police, telling him a police station was located across the street and he should go there if he wanted police assistance.

Rutstein said he flagged down a police car outside the store, resulting in four officers arriving at the store to take a police report. Two were from the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.

While there, the officers obtained an electronic copy of video footage of the alleged assault from the store’s security camera system. Police later released photos taken from the video and appealed to the public for help in identifying the suspect.

In response to criticism over the decision by Safeway employees to allow the suspect to escape, a Safeway spokesperson said the guards missed seeing how the incident started and assumed it was a fight between two customers.

“We have apologized to the customer and are conducting our own investigation as well as continue to cooperate with law enforcement on their investigation,” Safeway spokesperson Craig Muckle said in a July 9 statement.

Police listed the incident as an anti-gay hate crime.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jack Savage

    August 15, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Boycott Safeway – they can’t guaranty our safety.

    • Rick Mangus

      August 20, 2014 at 2:44 am

      Not when you have a BIG mouth and a bad attitude and cry wolf! I will continue to shop at Safeway.

  2. Rick Mangus

    August 20, 2014 at 2:40 am

    So Rutstein was assaulted, knowing the victim as I do he probability provoked and started the incident with this women. Like the saying goes ‘Karma is a bitch’!

  3. Vince Martin

    August 24, 2014 at 6:11 am

    It’s funny if you look at the picture there are two Cops in the background…. must not be to involved in protecting the community while there on the job…. we call that loitering were I come from

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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