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Another Capitol Hill assault targets Gay man
Another Capitol Hill assault targets Gay man
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Another assault on a Gay man has been reported to SGN. Capitol Hill resident Paul Ford was assaulted in the alley behind Neighbours Nightclub on Broadway. The assault took place early Saturday morning, February 21, as Ford was leaving the nightclub.

This was the same morning that Jerry Knight was assaulted at 13th Avenue and E Columbia Street, as he was returning home after an evening of Gay Bingo and cocktails at the Bus Stop. There is no known connection between the incidents.

"I was at Neighbours after hours," Ford told SGN. "When I left, as I'm walking down towards the bus stop there's a garage and two sets of dumpsters. There were three people there, and all of a sudden the middle one started hitting me."

"The other two didn't do anything," Ford continued, "although I did hear one say 'what the hell are you doing?'"

According to Ford, there was no apparent motive for the attack. Asked if the attacker used any anti-Gay hate speech, Ford replied "I don't remember anything like that. I was pretty surprised. I thought 'Is this just some guy being drunk, or what?'"

"Wish I'd had some warning," he said. "No one dislikes me, not that I know of. I'm not one to cause trouble. I'm kind of set back from this."

"It was the first time that whole night I wasn't with someone, and some random person is beating me," he told SGN.

"I don't recall his face," Ford said. "I was blindsided. I thought 'what the hell, this hurts' and I dropped to the ground. This was the first fight I've ever been in."

Ford did not seek medical attention and did not report the incident to the police. "It was a dark alley," he told SGN. "I didn't get a good view of them. I didn't think I could have identified anybody."

Contacted by SGN, SPD spokesperson Detective Renee Witt stressed the importance of reporting crimes.

"People have varying reasons for not reporting assaults," she said. "Maybe they think it's a waste of time. Maybe they don't take it seriously - or they think we won't take it seriously. But we do. We take it very seriously."

According to Det. Witt, even seemingly trivial details can help. "Even if it's just a particular shirt or particular hat, we can piece the evidence together," she told SGN. "We can look for patterns. We can look for other victims in a similar situation, or the same time of day, or same location. That can help us make arrests or track down suspects."

Even if no arrests are made, reporting incidents can result in increased police presence. Like most police departments, SPD assigns its resources on the basis of expected need, and past crime patterns are used to predict future needs. Reports of crimes in areas where the LGBT community congregates, even they are not reported or investigated as bias crimes, will result in additional SPD resources assigned to those areas.

Fortunately Ford did not suffer serious injuries. "I just went home. Next morning it was painful. I had a fat lip and a black eye. It wasn't very attractive," he chuckles, "but I'm fine now."

Asked if he'd returned to Neighbours since the attack, Ford said, "Yes, I have been back, but I haven't walked down that part of the alley."

"I'm very comfortable at Neighbours," Ford said. "I go there once a week. It's a safe area for me. I know all the door people and the security people, but this happened down the alley from where they are, out of their view."

Will Ford change his routine at all? "I guess I'll look over my shoulder more," he says. "I'm usually pretty observant. And I'll stay on the main streets where there are more people."

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