June 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. police arrest suspect in 4th anti-gay assault since April
The affidavit says the incident took place at approximately 11:50 p.m. on June 6 on the 100 block of 7th Street, N.W., next to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden.
Court records show police charged Bertrand J. Lebeau, Jr., a resident of Southeast D.C., with one count each of simple assault and destruction of property. The arrest affidavit says the destruction of property included a cracked screen on the victim’s cell phone and damaged bracelets that the victim was wearing while he was assaulted.
A separate police incident report lists the incident as a suspected hate crime based on the victim’s perceived or actual sexual orientation.
The incident represents the fourth time since April 15 that male suspects have attacked male victims in D.C. while yelling anti-gay names. The latest incident next to the Sculpture Garden marks the first time police have made an arrest in one of those incidents.
The arrest affidavit says police responded to the latest attack after a witness called 911 to report what the witness thought was a fight between two men.
“According to Victim 1, he was walking down the street while talking on his cell phone when the defendant came up behind him, called him a ‘faggot’ and struck him in the back of his head, causing his phone to fall to the ground,” the affidavit says.
“The two men began to struggle and tumbled to the ground,” the affidavit continues. “During the altercation Victim 1’s bracelets snapped and broke apart. Defendant 1 then takes Victim 1’s sneakers and throws them into the street,” the affidavit says. “Finally, Defendant 1 stomped on Victim 1’s phone causing the screen to crack.”
The arrest affidavit, which was prepared by the arresting officer, adds, “While defendant Lebeau was detained he stated ‘he ain’t about that gay shit.’ Defendant 1 also expressed that he was bothered by Victim 1’s phone conversation and admitted to stomping on Victim 1’s phone out of anger.”
Court records show that Superior Court Judge Errol Arthur ordered Lebeau held without bond at an arraignment on Thursday pending a detention hearing scheduled for June 14.
Court records also show that Lebeau had two prior assault charges pending against him at the time he was arrested for the alleged anti-gay assault on June 6. One, in which he was charged with simple assault, took place in August 2017. The other, in which he was charged with domestic violence-related simple assault and destruction of property, took place in October 2017, court records show.
The first of the three earlier anti-gay incidents took place about 12:30 a.m. on April 15 at Vermont Avenue and U Street, N.W., near four gay bars when three unidentified male suspects attacked two gay men while shouting anti-gay names. Both victims were hospitalized, with one suffering a concussion after being knocked onto the street. The other suffered broken teeth. Police released a video showing part of the incident unfold in which a fuzzy image of the attackers could be seen.
The second incident took place about 1 a.m. on May 20, when a gay man was attacked and beaten at the corner of Sherman Avenue and Harvard Street, N.W., by two or three male suspects while shouting anti-gay names. The victim wasn’t seriously injured.
The third incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. on May 27 on the 1300 block of 14th Street, N.W., near three gay clubs when an unidentified male suspect yelled anti-gay names at two men while they were walking on the sidewalk, according to a police report. The suspect punched one of the men in the face, the report says, before leaving the scene. Police released an image of the man taken from a nearby video surveillance camera and have appealed to the public for help in identifying the suspect.