August 1, 2017 at 9:35 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
GoFundMe campaign raises $17,000 for injured JR.’s bartender
Joey Phalin, gay news, Washington Blade, JR.'s bartender

A GoFundMe page for Joey Phalin has raised more than $15,000.

A bartender for the 17th Street, N.W., gay bar JR.’s was recovering from surgery this week that was needed to treat a broken neck he suffered on July 15 when he was struck from behind by an unidentified attacker as he was walking on a sidewalk at 16th and R Streets., N.W.

A D.C. police report says Joseph “Joey” Phalin reported that someone “struck him from behind with an unknown object and knocked him unconscious” about 10 p.m. on July 15.

JR.’s manager David Perruzza told Fox 5 TV News that Phalin woke up in an ambulance en route to a hospital after a passerby saw him lying on the sidewalk and called 911.

Perruzza told Fox 5 the attack occurred while Phalin was walking home from a friend’s house along 16th Street in a residential area near the Masonic Temple. Phalin thinks he may have been missing about $40 in cash that had been in his possession, Perruzza told Fox 5, but police have yet to determine a motive for the attack.

There were no suspects identified at the time the police report was written on July 27, 12 days after the incident. Fox 5 reports that due to the distraction of his hospitalization and surgery, Phalin did not follow up with police to file a report until the 27th.

As of Tuesday morning, donors had responded to a GoFundMe page that Perruzza created for Phalin by giving $17,034.

“Joey is a bartender at JR’s and relies on tips,” Perruzza wrote on the “GofundJoey” page. “He will be out of work for a while and so if you can please help, help,” stated Perruzza, who posted on his Facebook page that the money was needed to help pay hospital bills, rent, car payments, and other expenses while Phalin is unable to work.

Phalin, who has been a bartender at JR.’s for the past 15 years, is well known and beloved by the bar’s regular customers, according to longtime customers.

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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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