by James Whitely -
SGN Contributing Writer
On July 24, David Gonzalez and his friend Robert Harkins were walking east on E. Pike St. from R Place when Gonzalez was beaten and kicked by three men less than two blocks from Broadway. Gonzalez considers this to be not just an anti-Gay, but anti-Latino motivated attack.
According to Gonzalez, he and Harkins spent the early part of the night at R Place dancing with friends. Gonzalez began to get tired, so the two men decided to leave. Both Gonzalez and Harkins say they left at approximately 11:00 p.m.
Harkins, who is in his mid-50s, and Gonzalez, who is in his mid-20s, proceeded to walk towards Harkins' parked vehicle on E. Pike St., between Harvard and Boylston.
As they were passing the Honey Hole, a popular restaurant and bar on E. Pike St., someone from a group standing outside the businesses voiced an anti-Gay slur that was indistinguishable to Harkins. A second taunt from a woman then echoed the man's sentiment, allegedly saying, "there goes a pretty boy walking with his daddy."
Gonzalez reacted by walking up to the group demanding an apology. Gonzalez now realizes he may have appeared threatening. He is tall and well built, but maintains that even though he was, in his words, "tipsy," he was just asking for an apology.
A man about Gonzalez's height and build stepped between Gonzalez and the woman, ultimately shoving Gonzalez back. Gonzalez stumbled and fell to the sidewalk, and the situation quickly got out of hand.
Allegedly, three other men began kicking Gonzalez, calling him a "faggot" and "spic." It was at this point that Gonzalez's initial aggressor and the woman left.
The incident was "kind of a blur" to Gonzalez and Harkins, though they estimate it lasted about 30 seconds.
"I pulled one of the guys off him, and a small African American woman helped me." Harkins told SGN. "As far as I know, they [the attackers] went back into the Honey Hole."
The attack left Gonzalez with two black eyes and bleeding from his nose after being kicked in the face.
Harkins and the woman who had come to Gonzalez's aid tried to calm him down, as he wanted to enter the Honey Hole. "No, let's go home," said Harkins. The woman said, "I understand; my mom's a Lesbian" over and over again, trying to comfort him.
While there were a large number of witnesses to the attack, no one called the police. "[Gonzalez] was the one beaten, but I was also assaulted verbally and pulled a muscle in my chest pulling the creeps off him," Harkins said. "But I didn't call the police because the attacker wasn't there."
Gonzalez and Harkins said they believe that one of the attackers is an employee of the Honey Hole, though Honey Hole staff members strongly maintain that claim is impossible.
Jimmy Fanucci, a 10-year employee of the Honey Hole, was taking out the trash at the time of the incident and remembers the night slightly differently than Gonzales and Harkins.
He saw Gonzalez after he was pushed, but before he was kicked by the unidentified men. Fanucci vehemently claims that the attackers "were definitely not customers, and definitely not & employee[s]."
Fanucci also told SGN that the attack did not happen in front of the Honey Hole, but rather a few doors down from the entrance, in the vicinity of Babeland and Laced Up, both of which were closed at the time.
Fanucci saw the man and the woman who were involved in the initial conflict. He said that they both appeared sober, and he yelled for them to "cut it out." He said that the man and the woman then ran across the street.
He also mentioned that the attack had probably taken place between 12:15 a.m. and 12:45 a.m., approximately when the Capitol Hill block party was letting out.
Fanucci said he was under the impression that the incident was a friendly scuffle - that everyone knew each other - and everyone was coming from the block party. He didn't think much of it, which is why he didn't call the police. He maintains that the Honey Hole does not condone violence of any sort.
As SGN interviewed him, the first question he asked was, "Is the guy OK?"
URGES POLICE INVOLVEMENT
The day following the attack, July 25, Gonzalez went to the police to report the incident. Gonzalez, black-eyed and bruised, was tearing up at the time, and says he was brushed off at the East Precinct, told that he was "emotional" and to "come back when you can handle it."
A Seattle Police spokesmen told SGN that this is "The subject of an ongoing internal investigational."
In the days after the attack, Gonzalez and Harkins have been contacted by large numbers of people offering sympathy and support, including Regina LaBelle, legal counsel to the mayor.
According to Harkins, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels wanted to personally make sure that a police report was filed and introduced Gonzalez to Doug Raguso, who is a police liaison for the LGBT community. Harkins said that the liaison was incredibly responsive and supportive and will begin an investigation.
Now, nearly two weeks later, the incident has left Gonzalez emotionally tangled.
He believes he was beaten because he was Gay and proud.
When asked how the attack made him feel, Gonzalez replied, "I've been avoiding the Honey Hole; I don't even walk on the same side of [that street]," with his voice cracking. "I've been making sure my friends get home safe."
He said it makes him upset because he's sure he'll see and hear about more attacks like this in the near future within the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is known to be the epicenter of Gay life in Seattle. Gonzalez stressed that he would like to see a stronger sense of pride and community in the neighborhood.
"I would like to see people speak out against this kind of thing," he said.
Seattle Police Sergeant Sean Whitcomb is calling for any witnesses to come forward and contact the Seattle Police at (206) 684-5550.
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