SEATTLE — A gay man targeted in a brutal attack.
This latest attack happened last Wednesday night outside the Comet Tavern at the corner of 10th and Pike.
“They jumped a black man that was walking by and, as they were assaulting him, they were yelling out racist and homophobic slurs,” witness Danny Walters said.
Walters was working security at the Comet Tavern when he saw the attack and stepped in to help the man get away, then found a police officer to help arrest the suspects.
“He came and caught a couple of them and then they kept coming around so I kept pointing out more and more of them until we had five of them,” Walters said.
Although the man went to the hospital, he wasn’t too badly hurt thanks to Walters.
He and others who live, work and play on the Hill struggle with why these violent attacks are happening, especially those based on homophobia in a neighborhood like Capitol Hill.
“Seattle is like progressive and liberal, but the country is still like infested with people who are full of hate and ignorance,” a neighbor, Benjamin, said.
“To beat up somebody for who they are and not understanding that is just disgusting and it’s sad that people haven’t progressed enough to realize that,” neighbor Nathan Quiroga said.
And it comes as no surprise that the suspects are all from out of town.
“It’s well known that we don’t tolerate that kind of behavior in Seattle. Like this is a very progressive city and people are opened-minded here, and you don’t have to hide who you are, and so it’s just kind of shocking that people like that would even be in our town, let alone on Capitol Hill,” Walters said.
During the past several months, there have been a number of violent attacks on Capitol Hill.
People walking along the street have been beaten and robbed.
Attacks have also happened in Cal Anderson Park.
Marches calling for peace have been held and police have stepped up patrols and yet the violence continues.
Everyone is asked to be extra vigilant and look out for each other.
Even in the face of violence, there is compassion too, even for the suspects.
“There must be a lot of torment and insecurities and fear built up in those people, and so I feel sorry for them,too. I feel bad for everybody involved,” Quiroga said.
Four of the five men have criminal pasts. Two are from Florida, one from California and one from Oregon. They are charged with malicious harassment assault. That’s a hate crime.
They will be back in court June 13.