Columbia Heights Hate Crime Reported
A Columbia Heights man is reporting that he was beaten on his doorstep after being chased by a group of men shouting anti-gay and anti-Hispanic epithets Oct. 27
The victim, who asks to go by ’’Benjamin,’’ a pseudonym to protect his identity, says he was walking near the intersection of 16th Street and Park Road NW around 3 a.m. when he noticed a group of young black men following him. As he looked back, one of the men yelled, ’’Get him!’’ he says.
The victim, who is Hispanic, says he attempted to escape the group by retreating into his home, running a city block toward his building. Benjamin says that as he ran, he could hear the group shouting the slurs ’’faggot’’ and ’’spic.’’
’’I’m short - I’m only 5’5’’ - and I was carrying a messenger bag, so I guess they thought I was a target,’’ says Benjamin.
Arriving at his apartment building, Benjamin was unable to enter quickly enough to avoid the group trailing him. As one man from the group ascended the exterior steps of the building, Benjamin pleaded with him not to hurt him and advised him that cameras record activity near the entrance. The attacker was not deterred. Benjamin says the last thing her remembers of the attack before blacking out was the man grabbing his messenger bag.
Once he came to, Benjamin called 911 and to report the crime and was advised to seek medical help. He adds that the police officers who took his initial report did not include any description of the attack as possibly motivated by race or perception of sexual orientation.
’’They were just looking at me as if I had a criminal record,’’ says Benjamin. ’’One officer even asked me if I could speak English. They never gave me my case number or anything. They never followed up with me.’’