A gay male couple informed the Washington Blade this week that they were assaulted by a group of young men on June 17, at least of one of whom shouted the word “faggots,” while the couple was holding hands walking home on the 1500 block of T Street, N.W. a few doors away from their house.
One of the two men suffered a broken jaw and fractured thumb when two or three of the attackers punched and kicked him in the head and face after knocking him to the ground, according to a D.C. police report that lists the incident as a suspected anti-gay hate crime.
The incident took place about six weeks before another gay male couple was attacked and punched in the head and face by a group of young males appearing in their late teens as at least one of them shouted “monkeypox faggots.” The incident occurred on Aug. 7 along the 1700 block of 7th Street, N.W. in the Shaw neighborhood as the men were walking to a nearby bus stop.
D.C. police, who have released photos of two suspects in the Aug. 7 incident and a photo of one suspect in the June 17 case, say no arrests have been made in either of the cases but both cases remain under active investigation.
The two victims in the June 17 case identified themselves as J.P. Singh, Professor of Global Commerce and Policy at George Mason University, and Charles D. “Chuck” Johnson Jr., CEO and President of the Aluminum Association industry trade organization. They initially identified themselves in a little-noticed article about the incident that they wrote and published on June 23 in the blog Medium in which they also posted a photo of themselves.
“We, JP and Chuck, are a middle-age interracial gay couple,” the two wrote in the article. “We have been together for nearly 27 years, and live in a gay neighborhood in Washington, DC. On Friday, June 17, while walking back from the gym at 10 p.m. and holding hands, a group of young African American men assaulted us on our street,” the two wrote.
Their article goes on to explore issues surrounding racial justice and crime, and the possible impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on police response to crime, including anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, among other related issues.
“Assaults like ours open wounds in our society around race and LGBTQ issues,” they state in the article. “Through writing this article, we want to emphasize context and healing, and not encourage racialized ways of thinking that we associate with divisive tactics.”
Singh told the Blade the incident began on T Street, N.W., steps away from their house and in front of the house of gay D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kyle Mulhull. He said a group of the attackers approached him and Johnson from behind and the couple didn’t see the attackers until they were struck with punches.
“Before we knew it, I heard Chuck yell,” Singh said. “And when I turned to him, I felt a punch on my ear.”
According to Singh’s account, the attackers ran toward 15th Street and Johnson ran after them presumably to be able to inform police of their location, with the intent that the attackers could be apprehended.
But Singh said that another group of attackers emerged from an alley and appeared to have joined the first group and began assaulting Johnson again. The D.C. police report says officers responding to a 911 call from Johnson arrived on the scene when Victim 1, who was Johnson, was observed at the intersection of 15th and U Streets, N.W.
“The officers observed that Victim 1 was bleeding from his mouth as a result of the assault,” the report says. The report says the officers call the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department for assistance.
“Victim 1 stated that he and Victim 2 were walking eastbound in the 1500 block of T St., N.W. when 4 to 8 suspects approached from behind and assaulted them with punches,” the report continues. “Victim 1 stated that at least one of the suspects yelled homophobic slurs at him as the assault was perpetrated.
Singh said he accompanied Johnson to the emergency room where he was treated and underwent surgery two days later to treat his jaw, which was broken in two places. Singh said Johnson was also treated for a fractured thumb.
Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News