In Washington D.C. on September 19, two gay men were reportedly attacked and beaten by five unknown suspects less than two blocks from the Third District D.C. Police Station, according to the Washington Blade.
According to the police report, the suspects include four men and one woman, who reportedly shouted anti-gay slurs towards the two victims, William Southern and Robbie Barletta.
The incident began when Southern and Barletta, whom the reports names Victim 1 and 2, entered a crosswalk when an unknown vehicle almost collided with them. Victim 1 hit the vehicle with his open hands and yelled at the driver, who drove away.
Then, another vehicle, occupied by the five suspects, began yelling derogatory obscenities at the victims. The vehicle stopped, and the suspects exited the vehicle and began assaulting Southern and Barletta.
Southern was knocked unconscious, was “bleeding profusely from the face,” and had to be hospitalized at Howard University Hospital. Barletta suffered less serious injuries to his face and head that didn’t require hospitalization.
Southern and Barletta identified themselves on social media, where they described what they called a harrowing experience.
Barletta wrote in a Facebook post, “Everything was and is a blur… but I cannot forget the confusion, fear, and sadness I felt in this moment. I was lucky to walk away with a huge headache and a black eye.”
“The four men and the lady brutally attacked myself and my friends,” Southern said in a posting on Instagram. “But the moral of this story is not that it happened or for people to feel sorry for me. This is a statement.”
He continued, “I will never stop being gay. I will never feel ashamed of who I am. Most importantly, I will never let anyone around me feel like less of a person simply because of who they are!”
This incident, which the police report lists as a suspected anti-gay hate crime, marks the sixth time since April 15 that one or more male suspects have attacked male victims while shouting homophobic slurs in D.C.