The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.
March 4, 2009 5:46 PM
Posted by John de Leon
Seattle police have not identified suspects in the Feb. 22 assault of a 41-year-old Capitol Hill man who likely was attacked because of his sexual orientation.
According to police, the victim was assaulted by two men as he walked toward his home from a bar. The victim told police that he didn't get a clear look at the men, but from their voices he believes they were in their late teens or early 20s. He suffered a broken tooth, eye lacerations and injuries to his chin, nose, hands and ribs.
According to a police report, the victim was wearing a white sailor suit costume that he had worn earlier in the evening while working at Gay Bingo in downtown Seattle.
He told police he was walking east in the 1300 block of East Columbia Street around 1:30 a.m. when the men yelled at him, using an offensive slur against gay men. He ignored the men, but they attacked him from behind and knocked him to the ground, kicking and punching him repeatedly, according to the police report.
Despite the attack, King County deputy prosecutor Mike Hogan, who handles the county's malicious harassment cases, said there does not appear to be an increase in bias crimes. "In general, I am not seeing a spike in malicious harassment," Hogan said.
In 2005, three Russian immigrants were convicted in King County Superior Court of assault and malicious harassment for an attack on a gay man the year before. Their defense attorneys had argued at their trials that the men had been raised in a culture that was offended by the victim's open display of his sexual orientation.