Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gay Man Assaulted in Warren County

Uh. Whoa. Thanks to Cameron Tolle for the heads up, the transcript is posted below the video. From Local12:

Warren County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a disturbing attack that left a young man bloodied, his nose shattered. Investigators want to know if it is a hate crime. The victim is gay.

The assault happened at a Maineville Bar. Local 12 reporter Shawn Ley shows us why this investigation is far from over.

Ronnie Robertson's nose is broken, he has deep cuts and scratches around his eyes and cheeks. The 31 year old Mainville man is openly gay, his friends saying he's regretting not going to a gay bar Tuesday night.

Victim's friend: "The guy that was assaulted had said, that's the reason they made gay bars because it's a safer place, a safer environment to hang out."

The Warren County Sheriff's Office says Robertson received these injuries at Tabby's American Bar and Grill on Montgomery Road in Mainville, and a criminal investigation is underway, looking for everyone involved in the attack. Two women were arrested on the spot: Sarah Goldsberry, and Tammy Lingle. They are charged with felony assault, and disrupting police business.

Robertson's sister says there was no bar fight. She says her brother was attacked because of his sexual orientation.

Kelly Coffey/Victim's Sister: "I believe it was a hate crime, completely. because that's the only thing targeted that night, when someone stepped up and said, yes, I'm gay ... all night it was provoked, all night it was asked and I believe that's what it was."

Kelly Coffey says her friends, a mix of gay and straight people chose Tabby's to play sand volleyball - but were harassed by a man who continued to ask who in the group was gay and who wasn't & her brother finally answered. "When he admitted that he was, they lost it, went crazy and started attacking my brother and pushing him out of the bar."

So what does Tabby's owner have to say? We stopped in and was told no manager was there. We called 5 times Thursday night and still couldn't reach the owner. We do know the sheriff's office is going over the security camera tape to look at what happened and for the two other men involved.

Ohio's hate crime laws do *not* include gays and lesbians as a protected class. The Warren County Sheriff's Office says the gay bashing element of the case is "in play." Other cases in Ohio have fit the statute for charges of "ethnic intimidation."
Whoa dude. There's a lot of these popping up these days, seriously. Between the UC crime, the guy that was beaten outside of BronZ, and another one that happened on Ludlow... very disturbing. Be careful.


Stuff Queer People Need To Know said...

Uh, the guy interviewed on the video went to my high school and I know right where that Tabby's is. It's right down the street from where I used to work. Another crime close to home.

Charlie said...

This is really scary, just horrifying. At least the news chose to cover the crime this time unlike at UC where the attack went unreported until the protest piece in the evening news. It seems like every week we hear another story like this one. The state government needs to combat this by including sexual orientation and gender identity in its hate crime protection.

Unknown said...

It sounds like a hate crime to me!
I guess we should stop telling people we're gay. That, or have the government protect minorities.

Unknown said...

Those two girls from the mugshots look unfortunate.

Mary said...

I grew up not far from there. I can't believe such violence coming from what was once a peaceful area. It truly makes me sick. All these hateful people are moving into what was once such a nice community.

I too know where Tabby's is and drive by it every day. It actually used to be a decent place. I probably won't go there anymore.

carrie said...

mary... the people who hang at tabby's actually grew up around there and just never left. so it's the same people you may be used to, just grown up, bored, and hateful. i live down the street from it too, and have always avoided it because of those types of folks. ick!!

Walt said...

Help me to understand. I am not gay, I do not understand gay-ness, but I am totally against people getting physically harmed - for any reason. The crime was an assault, and should be punished as an assault. We already have laws that should protect this person. So, how does it help to include gays in a class for hate crimes? I don't understand why any group needs this, including whatever groups are included now. If we truly all are created equal, why is there even such a thing as a hate crime class? and again, how would this help the gay community? I am sincere...I am trying to understand. Thanks.

Matt Algren said...

Walt, when a gay person is targeted for being gay, or a black person is targeted for being black, or whatever other group, there are two purposes. One is aimed at harming the individual, which is covered by criminal law. The second purpose is to send a message to the minority community. In this case, it's very clear that the thugs meant to send a message to the gay community that they/we aren't welcome in this public space. It's meant to (to use an incendiary term) terrorize the community.

Now. The problem that we sometimes run up against is that local public officials are reticent to enforce criminal law. There are plenty of examples, including lynchings of black people in the past when the police, judge, prosecutor, and/or public defender simply refuse to do their jobs. Federal hate crime laws allow federal officials to step in and enforce the rule of law.

And unfortunately, there are current instances. Two years ago Sean Kennedy was brutally murdered in South Carolina. As in, his brain separated from his skull. With no hate crime law, his murderer was permitted to plea down to a lesser charge and was sentenced to a MAXIMUM of three years in jail. He's already been up for parole once, less than two years after Sean's murder.

With a federal hate crime law on the books, the federal government would have been able to step in and stop the prosecutor and judge from accepting an obviously unjust plea agreement.

Walt said...

Matt - Your explanation helps me to understand. I'm too nieve or ignorant too have thought about 'the good 'ol local boys' at the local enforcement level.
I was glad to hear that all was well at Tabby's.