Metro Weekly

Police searching for 3 suspects in anti-gay beating near U and 10th Street NW

MPD says attack that left two gay men severely injured appears to have been "unprovoked"

Screenshot of video of the attack in the 2000 block of 10th St. NW – Photo: Metropolitan Police Department, via YouTube.

D.C. police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three suspects who severely beat two gay men on early Sunday morning in the 2000 block of 10th St. NW.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Police Department released video of the attack on Twitter and on YouTube. In the video, three men are shown attacking the two victims, repeatedly kicking and punching them in the head until one falls to the ground, seemingly unconscious.

The attack occurred around 12:31 a.m., when the two male victims say they were approached by three men, who proceeded to assault them.

The victims say that the men yelled homophobic slurs during the beating, which left one man with a concussion and the other with a broken nose and a chipped tooth. All three assailants ran off before two people came to the aid of the unconscious victim.

Police told WUSA 9 that the attack appears to have been “unprovoked.” They have also said there is no evidence to believe that the suspects are engaging in similar assaults elsewhere in the city.

Both victims were taken to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries before being released.

Friends of the victims confirmed to news media that the victims are gay. The incident also took place in the U Street corridor, which is home to at least four LGBTQ bars and several more LGBTQ-friendly nightlife spots.

MPD’s Special Liaison Branch said in a press release that police are investigating the incident as potentially motivated by hate or bias. Any bias enhancements added to the underlying assault charges could result in a harsher sentence if the three are apprehended.

The suspects are described as a black male, between 20-25 years of age, wearing a white T-shirt, dark pants, and gray high top sneakers; a black male, between 20-25 years of age, wearing dark clothes with distinctive black-and-white patterned shoes; and a heavy-set black male, between 20-25 years of age, wearing a white shirt, jeans, red boxers, and dark shoes.

The Capital Pride Alliance released a statement on Facebook identifying the victims as volunteers for Capital Pride, though not by name. The organization said it was “disturbed” by the attack and the facts surrounding the case.

“We will do everything possible to support our friends and colleagues. In addition, we will assist in determining not only what happened but how our community can work together to respond to and prevent anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes,” the statement reads.

“Sadly, we are all aware of the statistics. And, we know that in the current climate our community is under attack on a nearly daily basis. We remain vulnerable by simply walking down the street, going out with friends and family, or living our daily lives,” Capital Pride added. “We also know that hate crimes disproportionately affect the most vulnerable and marginalized in our communities, in particular transgender women of color. This incident is unfortunately only the latest to highlight that we must remain vocal and vigilant whenever someone in our community is attacked simply for who they are.”

“It’s a very sad day when people are having violence against other people,” Ashley Smith, the Board President of the D.C. Capital Pride Alliance, told WUSA 9. “We have to learn how to really start to work together and become one community.”

Police are asking the public to help in identifying the attackers. Anyone with knowledge of the incident can call police at 202-727-9099 or text a tip to MPD’s Text Tip Line at 50411. Crime Solvers of Washington, D.C. is currently offering a reward of up to $1,000 for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case.

Last year, D.C. police and city officials notified the LGBTQ community that bias-related crimes have risen since 2015, with attacks based on sexual orientation constituting the largest chunk of those crimes that were classified as bias-related. According to statistics from MPD’s website, there were 163 bias-related crimes during the first 11 months of 2017, which constitutes a 58% increase from the first 11 months of 2016. Bias-related crimes based on sexual orientation alone increased by 34% over that same period.

See video of the incident, courtesy of MPD, below:

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include additional comment from the Capital Pride Alliance.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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