Over the past week, two separate assaults of gay men occurred in Brooklyn and Washington DC. INTO has confirmed with both police departments that these incidents are currently being investigated as potential hate crimes.
In Williamsburg, two men were assaulted outside of Metropolitan Bar. The victims, 29 and 34, were left unconscious after the suspect’s attack. According to NBC, “He punched the 34-year-old man in the face and the victim blacked out. Then he grabbed the 29-year-old man and threw him against a tree, also leaving him unconscious.” Both were taken to the hospitals.
In Washington DC, two men, Robert Barletta and William Southern, were assaulted after leaving an event for their gay kickball league. According to the incident report obtained by INTO, the suspects were in a vehicle and yelled derogatory obscenities at the victims before stopping and assaulting them.
According to a witness, Southern suffered injuries to his face and the back of his head and lost consciousness during the assault. Several witnesses were present and called 911.
Barletta told INTO via Facebook messenger that when it happened he immediately felt afraid, sad, angry and confused all at the same time. “My friend was knocked unconscious and was bleeding so bad,” Barletta said. “So much blood everywhere. All my energy was focused on making sure he was ok.”
Barletta explained that he never felt unsafe in the area, which is close to his apartment. “I never thought it would happen to me,” he said, before acknowledging that everyone says that. “ I just wanted to be home. Just walking home like I always do. Before I knew it everything wasn’t what it was and I was broken. Within seconds.”
Since the attack, Barletta has said he’s felt “numb” and not really himself. “[I] haven’t been able to go to work. [It’s] just like a rollercoaster of emotion.”