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D.C. man found guilty of assault — but not guilty of hate crime

Victim suffered broken nose, loss of teeth after being called anti-gay slurs

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A D.C. Superior Court jury on Feb. 27 found a 42-year-old District man charged with a May 2022 assault against a gay man while shouting anti-gay slurs guilty of assault causing significant bodily injury but not guilty of committing a hate crime.

Court charging documents show that Anthony Duncan allegedly punched the male victim in the face and head, breaking the victim’s nose and breaking three of the victim’s teeth, after the two men crossed paths while walking along 15th Street, N.W. at the intersection of V Street at about 4:50 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

An arrest affidavit filed in court by police and prosecutors says Duncan remained on the scene after the victim called police on his cell phone. It says Duncan attempted to blame the victim for instigating a fight.

The affidavit says Duncan told police officers who arrived on the scene that while he walked past the victim the victim “grabbed his nuts at me,” which police interpreted to mean he accused the victim of making a sexual gesture toward him.

“Defendant 1 stated that when he confronted Victim 1 over ‘grabbing his nuts’ that Victim 1 turned around and swung on him unprovoked but missed. Defendant 1 stated that they then got into a physical dispute resulting in Victim 1’s injuries,” the affidavit says.

It says the victim strongly disputed that assertion, saying he attempted to walk away from Duncan after Duncan began calling him a “faggot” and punched him in the back of his head.  

The affidavit says the victim “was wearing a Stonewall Bocce shirt which is a well-known LGBTQ sports league.”

The affidavit and a separate court document filed by prosecutors says Duncan told police he recorded some of the incident with his phone, which police obtained at the time they arrested Duncan at the scene of the incident.

“Defendant 1 can be heard approaching Victim 1 while he was walking away and calling him a ‘fag’ several times while the altercation was taking place,” the affidavit says in describing the video obtained from Duncan’s phone.

In a court motion filed by prosecutors asking the judge to allow the video from Duncan’s phone to be submitted as evidence, the motion further describes what was recorded and observed on the video.

“On the video, you can see the defendant approach [the victim] and start verbally accosting him,” the court motion says. “The defendant then proceeds to punch [the victim] in the face,” it says. “After reviewing the video, the police arrested the defendant,” the prosecutors’ motion says.

Court records show Duncan was charged with Assault With Significant Bodily Injury, which was designated as a bias-related crime based on the victim’s sexual orientation. Court records show Duncan was held without bond until a court appearance on May 26, 2022, when he was released under the court’s high intensity supervision program with a stay away order prohibiting him from coming into contact with the victim.

The court records show that Duncan appears to have complied with the terms of his release and that his trial began on Feb. 21 and continued until Feb. 27 when the jury handed down its verdict of guilty on the assault charge and not guilty on the “Bias Related Crime” charge.

Duncan’s defense attorney, Quo Mieko Judkins, declined a request by the Blade for comment on the case. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the office would consider a request by the Blade for comment on the case.

Court records show that Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz scheduled a sentencing hearing for Duncan on April 28. A statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office says he faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Former Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Mike Silverstein, who has monitored the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s handling of crimes targeting LGBTQ people, praised the office for prosecuting the case against Duncan as a hate crime. Silverstein said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has chosen to drop hate crime designations in other cases brought by D.C. police.

Spokespersons for the office in the past have said the charging decisions are based on the strength of the evidence in each individual case.

“One would hope that the judge will take into account the circumstances of this case,” Silverstein told the Blade. “The extreme circumstances of someone actually filming an assault and celebrating it. And that should play a part in her decision on a sentence,” he said. “This is not open season on gays.”

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Maryland

Moore pardons more than 175,000-plus cannabis-related convictions

Governor signed executive order at State House on Monday

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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (Public domain photo/Twitter)

BY BRENDA WINTRODE and PAMELA WOOD | Gov. Wes Moore pardoned more than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions Monday, nullifying guilty verdicts decided when carrying small amounts of the drug or paraphernalia was illegal.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order during a State House ceremony, granting clemency to thousands of people convicted in Maryland. The convictions to be pardoned include more than 150,000 misdemeanors for simple possession and more than 18,000 for possession of drug paraphernalia with an intent to use.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Local

Blade wins multiple journalism awards

Society of Professional Journalists recognizes writing, design work

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The D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored the work of the Washington Blade at its annual Dateline Awards dinner last week.

The Blade took top honors in the weekly newspaper editorial/opinion writing category for a piece by Michael Lavers, the Blade’s international news editor, titled, “Bearing witness to the unimaginable,” which recounted watching raw footage of Hamas’s attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

In it, Lavers wrote, “The Israeli government clearly wants the world to understand the barbarity of what happened on Oct. 7, and that is why it has shown footage of that horrific Saturday to journalists and lawmakers. The footage left me deeply shaken, and perhaps that was the point.”

Washington Blade graphic designer Meaghan Juba won the Dateline Award for front-page design in the weekly newspaper category.

And in the weekly newspaper-features category, the Blade’s Kathi Wolfe was recognized as a finalist for her piece titled, “Meet one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet.”

“These awards reflect our 55-year commitment to journalistic excellence,” said Blade Editor Kevin Naff. “Congratulations to our team for another year of award-winning journalism.”

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Baltimore

Baltimore Pride event disrupted by possible chemical agent, causing panic and injuries

Incident caused a stampede

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This year’s Pride Parade and Festival was expected to attract 100,000 people. (Photo by Kaitlin Newman/the Baltimore Banner)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV and BRENNA SMITH | A possible chemical agent was released in front of the main stage at the Baltimore Pride Parade and Block Party on Saturday night, causing a stampede.

The incident occurred around 7 p.m. and police did not release the chemical agent, according to a spokesperson. The main stage for the event was located near North Avenue and Charles Street.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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