The prosecution of a New Mexico man who allegedly harassed and attacked a gay couple and their daughter in June has stalled while authorities determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.
Jordan Salazar, 26, of no fixed address, faces charges of aggravated battery, criminal damage to property, and concealing his identity when questioned by police for allegedly harassing a gay couple who were touring downtown Albuquerque with their daughter on June 18.
According to NBC affiliate KOB-TV, Michael Drennan and Matthew Kisner and their daughter had visited New Mexico to see family in Santa Fe when they decided to visit Albuquerque for a day.
The couple say they had intended to check out the Rail Yards Market but soon found themselves accosted by a homeless man — later identified as Salazar — upon exiting the train.
The couple say the man began repeatedly hurling homophobic slurs at them and following them around. At one point, he hit one of the men in the head with a metal broomstick.
“The homeless guy…attacked us. He hit us with a pole. He’s following us. He’s aggressive. He’s cursing, he’s screaming, my daughter’s scared,” Kisner told dispatchers after dialing 911.
“My husband, who’s on the phone talking to the police, or the 911 dispatcher, is kind of relaying to them the things that he’s saying,” Drennan said. “And at that point, my husband [is] saying, you know, ‘he’s calling us f*****s, you know, he wants to try and figure out why two men are with my daughter.'”
Recently released video from police body cameras shows that Salazar was still waving around the broomstick when officers arrived.
The responding officers questioned Salazar, and it soon became apparent that Salazar was familiar with the officers, as one addressed him by name and told the other that he had arrested Salazar the week prior, according to the video footage.
While the gay couple were explaining what happened to officers, they asked if the incident would be investigated as a hate crime.
“I feel like if the definition of a hate crime was motivated by anti-gay bias, then yes, I feel like this was a hate crime,” Kisner recounted telling officers following the attack.
According to court records, the case has been delayed while the court awaits the results of a mental competency screening before prosecutors can determine whether to move forward with the charges against Salazar.
The court records do not list any mention of bias enhancements or hate crime charges, which would carry additional penalties if Salazar was found to have targeted the gay couple and their daughter due to their sexual orientation.
Salazar was previously accused of attacking a security guard with a metal pipe while behaving in a manner as if he was under the influence of drugs back in June.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!