Suspect Pleads Guilty

Man was charged with assault and anti-gay hate-crime bias after threatening group of women outside of a DC nightclub

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, Christopher George McDonald plead guilty, in front of D.C. Superior Court Judge Craig Iscoe, to assaulting and threatening a group of women in front of a restaurant last fall.

According to a court document, McDonald’s plea bargain carries a hate-crime bias enhancement because of the women’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.

McDonald approached the five women around 3 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2009 by the Felix Lounge at 2406 18th St. NW, according to the court document. He was with ”an associate,” Semese Habte, when he acknowledged the women by pointing at them and counting each out loud. He then asked the women why they were dressed like men.

”In Jamaica I’d shoot you in the mouth if you were gay,” he stated, according to the document. McDonald then brandished a black-handled knife and approached one of the women from behind.

After making the threat, McDonald fled the scene and was arrested shortly following the incident.

Kelly Pickard, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, reacted to the news on behalf of the organization via e-mail.

”This case highlights one of the most pressing challenges since the recent reorganization of the GLLU — the continued need for the GLLU to be an active, engaged and informed partner with community groups such as GLOV,” she wrote in an e-mail to Metro Weekly.

Pickard added that the incident is also a ”disturbing example” of the intimidation and violence that people often face because they are, or are perceived to be, LGBT.

”We believe that aggressive enforcement and prosecution of people who commit acts of violence are integral components to an overall solution designed to reduce hate crimes in D.C.”

McDonald’s sentencing is scheduled for April 5.

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