News Round-Up: March 10, 2021

Uber driver being assaulted by three women refusing to wear face masks during pandemic

Uber driver being assaulted by three women refusing to wear face masks during pandemic

Some news items you might have missed:

AP News: The European Parliament is scheduled to debate a resolution on Wednesday that would declare the entire 27-member European Union a “freedom zone” for LGBT people. The move is seen as a reaction to actions in Poland, where many local communities have adopted symbolic homophobic resolutions declaring themselves free of “LGBT ideology.”

Pink News: There was widespread shock when LGBT+ Rights Ghana, an advocacy organisation, had its offices raided and shut down by national security forces in February. On Monday, parliamentarian Samuel Nartey George announced that he and seven other MPs will bring forward legislation in an effort to criminalize the promotion of LGBTQ rights.

NowThis News: An Uber driver (above image) in San Francisco, CA, was assaulted by passengers after one of them allegedly refused to wear a mask (warning: distressing). The San Francisco police are now investigating the women for possible charges. A GoFundMe was launched to help the driver here.

Washington Post: President Biden confirmed Wednesday that his administration plans to secure an additional 100 million doses of the single-shot vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. The additional doses will reinforce the supply needed to offer all American adults a vaccine by the end of May.

Twitter: Donald Trump issued a pathetically lame statement tonight “reminding” people HE should get credit for the COVID vaccines. He notably doesn’t take responsibility for the 529,000+ American deaths that occurred thanks in part to his admitted ‘downplaying’ of the virus.

Gay Man Beaten Unconscious Amid Barrage Of Anti-Gay Slurs

Christian Council (images via Facebook)

Two people who allegedly beat a gay Oklahoma man unconscious are not expected to face hate crime charges despite the victim and a witness telling police officers the assailants hurled anti-gay slurs during the assault.

Oklahoma City-based real estate agent Christian Council, 28, told police he was returning home in his car in the early hours of June 27 with a friend, 26-year-old Andrew Martinez, when he came upon a pickup truck parked in the street blocking traffic in his apartment complex.

Council says he honked once then again before the truck finally moved out of the way at which point Council parked his car several spaces down.

As he and Martinez exited the car, two men and a woman were standing nearby. The woman, later identified as Amery Dickerson, 23, called Council and Martinez “c**ksuckers” and one of the men used another homophobic slur.

According to the police report, when Council explained he honked his horn because he couldn’t get by, Dickerson charged at him, shoving him into a parked car. As she charged him a second time, he pushed her in the face to protect himself.

Council says at that point the two men yelled, “You f*ggot, don’t you know you can’t hit a girl?’” 

“And the driver of the truck and the girl’s boyfriend beat me,” adds Council. “Beat me unconscious.”

Bennett Stone, 24, was identified as the man who started the fight. As the incident escalated, Council and Martinez say the trio was yelling homophobic slurs. Martinez tried to intercede but the unidentified man restrained him while Stone continued the beating.

Martinez told police Council lost consciousness for “a minute or two” as he stopped responding to the blows and his body went limp. Martinez was eventually able to call 911.

The police charged Dickerson and Stone with misdemeanor assault and battery which could result in up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Council was treated for a concussion as well as cuts and bruises at a local emergency room.

In the weeks since the attack, Council says he’s experienced post-traumatic stress disorder while in public.

According to The Oklahoman, the initial police report didn’t mention any of the homophobic slurs used during the assault even though Council and Martinez relayed that to the officers.

In characterizing certain crimes, Oklahoma City police can indicate whether an incident was domestic violence, a drive-by shooting, or a hate crime. The officers didn’t check the hate crime box.

The report was later amended to include the use of anti-gay remarks after the police reviewed body camera footage showing Council mentioning the slurs.

In Stone’s version of the events, he claims he saw Council “punch” Dickerson and he was merely defending Dickerson.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma City police, Master Sgt. Gary Knight told The Oklahoman the incident is currently under review before referring it to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office.

“There is no hard evidence that suggests the attack was because of his sexual orientation,” Knight told The Oklahoman. “Right now it appears the conflict was because of a truck not moving out of the way of his vehicle. These people did not know each other. There’s no indication they jumped out of their vehicle because of his sexual orientation.”

(image via Facebook)

Council, however, disagrees saying the incident escalated because Stone and Dickerson realized he was gay.

“I want to make this very clear,” said Council to The Oklahoman. “They got out of their truck because they were mad that I honked at them. They beat me unconscious because I was gay.”

“It was very clear to me that as soon as they saw that my friend and I were gay, or that they assumed we were gay, it was very clear to me that it went from they were mad that I had honked at them, to they were mad that two gay men had the audacity to honk at them, or inconvenience them in any way,” he added.

Council is aware LGBTQ people aren’t a protected class in Oklahoma meaning Stone and Dickerson won’t be facing state hate crime charges. Still, he says he has filed a hate crime report with the FBI.

Council also says he’d prefer that Dickerson and Stone be sentenced to some form of restorative justice.

“These people can go and sit in a jail cell and just let their hate against queer-trans people build, or they can be forced to go work community service hours alongside the queer and trans community and see the humanity in us, and I think that that kind of restorative justice will do a lot more for our community than jail time will,” Council told The Oklahoman.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Council cope with the cost of medical treatment in the ER and downtime from work as well as legal fees as Council is planning a civil suit against his attackers.

(source: The Oklahoman)

News Round-Up: August 1, 2020

Reichen and Chip win Season 4 of The Amazing Race (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Instinct Magazine: My colleague at my ‘other home’ has done a terrific round-up of LGBTQ reality show winners over the years including Amazing Race Season 4 champs Reichen and Chip (above). Hit the link for winning LGBTQ moments from Survivor, Big Brother and more.

Global News: Shane Daum, 43, reports he was gay-bashed by a group of seven individuals while camping in British Columbia. During the incident, the men (who recognized him from his local grocery store) held his dog as they beat him unconscious. He was treated for a concussion, but law enforcement says they aren’t pressing charges because there are “no independent witnesses to identify any particular accused at the time.”

Out Music: With his work in television, film and theater, Tituss Burgess is quickly emerging as one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile and dynamic performers. Burgess recently dropped his first single, “Dance M.F.,” aimed squarely at the dance music culture and this year’s many unstoppable virtual pride celebrations.

The track is a sultry sexy stomper with an attitude that is certain to bring comfort and escapism to our currently socially distanced souls. Burgess says the song “is a love letter to all the party people who in spite of the pandemic, are still committed to ‘live their best lives,’ party on down and celebrate Pride safely while in lockdown.”

Variety: Facebook is unleashing hundreds of thousands of music videos in the U.S. starting this weekend — a direct challenge to YouTube, which has had a virtual lock on the internet music-video space for years. With the U.S. launch of music videos, which Facebook has been actively developing since at least last fall, the company has updated Artist Pages of musicians and singers with a new section to let users browse their official music videos.

Yahoo News: Now that Donald Trump’s big GOP donor buddy Louis DeJoy has been installed as Postmaster General, orders are going out to employees reducing hours and services. I’m sure it’s all part of a plan to hobble voting by mail which Trump has been demonizing for weeks now for alleged ‘election fraud’ potential.

The Hill: Some Republicans are urging GOP leaders to abandon the attacks on mail-in voting and to instead embrace it, warning that the president is effectively sabotaging his own party. The impact could be particularly pronounced in Florida, a battleground state where Republicans have traditionally outpaced Democrats among absentee voters. It’s also the preferred method of voting for many seniors, who broke for Trump in 2016.

InstaHunks: I thought I’d share another shot of Backyard Envy host Garrett Magee since he made such a splash yesterday in my post about the upcoming Season 2 premiere on Tuesday, August 4.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Garrett Magee (@garrettbmagee) on

Syracuse: Hate Crime Assault Results In 6 Month Jail Sentence

A man in upstate New York pleaded guilty to violently attacking a gay couple as they were leaving the New York state fair last August.

Nicholas Ferlenda, 28, pleaded guilty to two hate crimes on Tuesday – fourth-degree criminal mischief and third-degree assault.

According to the police reports, Ferlenda apparently became enraged at seeing one of the men put his arm around his boyfriend as they were leaving a concert event on August 24.

Ferlenda began screaming obscenities and anti-LGBTQ slurs at the couple as they walked to their vehicle.

He then punched one of the men in the face. The report states the men attempted to ignore him but the harassment continued for nearly half an hour.

As they tried to leave the fairgrounds, they stopped to report the incident to a fair worker. But Ferlenda caught up to the car and punched the driver’s side window causing it to shatter.

He was eventually taken into custody at 10:55 p.m. Police believe he may have been intoxicated.

If Ferlenda hadn’t used specific anti-LGBTQ slurs he would have only faced two misdemeanors. But the hate speech bumped the charges up to felonies.

Prosecutor Anthony Mangovski told the court on Tuesday Ferlenda’s actions demonstrated an “unbelievable” hatred, especially towards strangers. Mangovski urged the court to sentence Ferlenda to 1 to 3 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to one of the crimes.

But state Supreme Court Justice Gordon Cuffy instead offered 6 months in jail and five years probation if Ferlenda copped to both hate crime felonies.

He will also be required to pay for any damages he caused to the couple’s car as well as take part in diversity training.

Additionally, he will face up to 8 years in prison if he is re-arrested before formal sentencing in April.

(source: Syracuse.com)

Gay Man Robbed & Beaten To Death Christmas Day Over $1

A 60-year-old gay man was violently beaten to death on Christmas Eve defending his partner from a gang of robbers who left the scene of the crime having stolen a single dollar.

Juan Fresnada and his 29-year-old partner Byron Caceres were leaving a McDonald’s restaurant in the Bronx near 1:30 a.m. when a man approached the couple demanding money.

Friends of the couple told NBC New York, “The guys just told them ‘Give me the money, give me the money.’ He was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’”

The couple reportedly tried to avoid the conflict by heading into a nearby deli, but the perpetrator followed them, and things quickly escalated.

“My husband tried to defend me,” Caceres told the New York Daily News. “The guy had his fist ready like he was ready to attack me. My husband said, ‘Don’t you get close to him.’”

Two other men joined the first and began to beat the couple. Defen defending his partner, Fresnada told Caceres to run to safety.

According to Caceres, the assault lasted between 10 and 15 minutes as the robbers beat Fresnada relentlessly before smashing a steel trash can on his head leaving him in the middle of East 165th Street with severe injuries to his legs and head.

When Caceres returned, he doesn’t own a cell phone and couldn’t call the police, his partner was bleeding and breathing heavily. The younger man attempted CPR but a bystander said that might not be a good idea since Fresnada was breathing so heavily.

According to NBC New York, throughout the ordeal, no one stopped to help the couple.

Eventually, an ambulance arrived to take the older man to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a fractured skull which led to swelling in his brain and blood pooling in the back of his skull. The younger man refused treatment and is expected to fully recover.

Fresnada remained hooked up to a ventilator and unresponsive until he died from his extensive injuries on Friday, December 27.

Caceres says he doesn’t believe the attack was a hate crime as he doesn’t remember hearing any homophobic slurs during the assault.

The two men met in 2015 through a program for low-income gay men and have been inseparable since.

The police have released this montage of surveillance footage of the men. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

(source: NBC New York, New York Daily News)

Gay Couple Attacked For Holding Hands At Food Truck

Four men in Washington state have been arrested for allegedly harassing and physically attacking a gay couple for holding hands at a food truck.

Pedro Mata Contreras, 36, Oscar Emestor Mata, 38, Ulises Missael Reyes-Mata, 24, and Jose Torres, 37, were charged with Felony Malicious Harassment. All four maintain their innocence.

Local CBS News affiliate KEPR reports eight witnesses told police the group of four men verbally harassed the gay couple early Sunday morning at a food truck in Pasco, using the word “fag.”

The incident escalated as the men reportedly punched one of the victims in the face. As he fell to the ground, the other men began to kick him repeatedly.

The victim, left bleeding on the ground as the men ran away, suffered bone fractures in his face and a concussion.

Witnesses were able to identify the four accused attackers.

The four men are scheduled to be arraigned on December 31.

(mugshots via Franklin County)

(lead image via Depositphotos)

Montana Man Says He Fractured Boy’s Skull ‘On Orders From President Trump’

L-R Donald Trump, Curt Brockway

Yesterday, I reported on a Montana man who picked up a 13-year-old boy and slammed him to the ground for not removing his hat during the national anthem at a state fair.

The boy had to be airlifted to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured skull and his ears bled for over six hours.

The lawyer for the accused assaulter now says his client, 39-year-old Curt Brockway, believed he was acting on orders from President Trump.

From The Billings Gazette:

The attorney for a 39-year-old man charged with assaulting a child who didn’t take his hat off for the national anthem says his client, compromised by a traumatic brain injury, believes he was acting on an order from President Donald Trump.

Superior resident Curt Brockway was charged Monday with felony assault on a minor. His defense attorney, Lance Jasper, told the Missoulian Wednesday the president’s “rhetoric” contributed to the U.S. Army veteran’s disposition when he choke-slammed a 13-year-old, fracturing his skull, at the Mineral County fairgrounds on Aug. 3.

“His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished,” Jasper said. “He certainly didn’t understand it was a crime.”

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Montana Man Fractures Teen’s Skull For Not Removing Hat During National Anthem

A 39-year-old Montana man was arrested for a violent assault on a 13-year-old boy fracturing the teen's skull.
Curt James Brockway (mug shot)

A 39-year-old Montana man was arrested for a violent assault on a 13-year-old boy fracturing the teen’s skull.

Curt James Brockway reportedly told authorities “he had every right” to pick the boy up and slam him to the ground because, in his opinion, the teen had disrespected the national anthem by not removing his hat.

USA Today reports the boy had to be airlifted to a hospital due to the attack. His parent’s told the press he bled from his ears for nearly six hours.

Prosecutors asked Brockway’s bond be set at $100,000, but the judge allowed him to be released on his own recognizance.

Brockway is apparently registered as a violent offender with a police record going back to 2010.

Watch the report from local news station KPAX below:

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Dallas Karaoke Host Wakes Up With Fractured Skull, Broken Jaw But No Memory

Oscar Rodriguez

A popular karaoke host at the Dallas gay bar, the Round Up Saloon, is still suffering the severe after-effects of an apparent late night assault.

Oscar Rodriguez remembers leaving after his shift at the Round Up a little after 2 a.m. on April 14.

But the next thing he can remember is waking up in his car. There was no damage to his vehicle, his ID and cash were still on him, but his phone was missing.

Although he was experiencing an excruciating head ache, he was able to drive to his home in the neighborhood of Oak Lawn, but it soon became apparent he needed serious medical attention.

(screen capture)

His roommate drove him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a bleeding brain, a fractured skull, a broken jaw and several missing teeth. Surgery was required to wire his jaw shut and insert metal plates in his head.

Rodriguez’s friend and co-worker, Nikkii Meister, told WFAA News, “The doctors at Parkland (Hospital) said whoever did this intended for him to not walk away from it.”

The 32-year-old karaoke host says he’s still experiencing serious memory loss.

“My memory was all over the place,” he told WFAA. “I couldn’t remember what year it was, I couldn’t remember my birthdate.”

With no memory of the assault, and no leads to go on, police have made no arrests in the case.

Additionally, Rodriguez has no health insurance, so the bills are mounting up quickly. With his jaw wired shut for several more weeks, he can’t work as a karaoke host without being able to talk.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help defray the costs of his medical treatment.

(Source: WFAA)

Jussie Smollett Speaks Out At First Public Appearance: “I Fought The F*ck Back”

Almost a week after Empire star Jussie Smollett was assaulted in Chicago by two men who used homophobic, racist slurs during the attack, the actor & singer showed up for his already scheduled concert at The Troubadour in Los Angeles last night.
Jussie Smollett (image via screen capture)

Almost a week after Empire star Jussie Smollett was assaulted in Chicago by two men who used homophobic, racist slurs during the attack, the actor & singer showed up for his already scheduled concert at The Troubadour in Los Angeles last night.

As he took to the stage, his first public appearance since the attack, he told the crowd, “I had to be here tonight, y’all. I can’t let the motherf—ers win,” according to Variety.

“I have so many words on my heart,” Smollett told the sold-out crowd. “The most important thing I have to say is thank you so much and that I’m okay. I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to. And I’m gonna stand strong with y’all… l will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love. And I hope that you all will stand with me. So now… let’s do it.”

Variety notes that the concert was sold-out before the attack in Chicago.

With a setlist that included songs like, “Freedom,” Conqueror,” and “Hurt People,” Smollett reportedly fought back tears as the evening took on a message of defiance and strength.

Near the end of the concert, the singer called out to two artists in attendance – out actor Wilson Cruz (Star Trek: Discovery) and Empire creator Lee Daniels: “I promised myself I was not gonna cry tonight. Someone in the crowd that I want to recognize: Wilson Cruz is someone I identified with growing up. I stand on the backs of so many people — of the Lee Daniels and the Wilson Cruz’s — and I pray to God I make you all proud.”

Before his final encore, he said there were a few points of fact that he wanted to clear up regarding reports of the attack.

“I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked; they were not broken,” he began. “I went to the doctor immediately – I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in L.A. and Chicago cleared me to perform, but said to take care, obviously. And above all: I fought the f— back.”

And the crowd goes wild!

After the roar subsided, he finished the moment by joking, “I’m the gay Tupac! So now, we can do our encore.”

As he exited the stage, Smollett announced, “We are proud. We are gay.”

Wilson Cruz acknowledged Smollett on his Instagram.