Crime, News

Police Examine Whether Attack Was a Hate Crime

By Edwin Folven, 3/22/2012

Victim’s Claims Not Corroborated by Eyewitness Account

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Detectives in Hollywood are trying to determine whether a victim who was physically assault early Sunday morning near the corner of Cahuenga Boulevard and Yucca Street was the victim of a hate crime because he was gay, or whether the incident was an unprovoked attack.

Det. Kevin Becker, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division, said there are discrepancies between the victim’s account and reports from a witness. The detective also said there are no concrete descriptions of the alleged suspects, other than they were Hispanic men.

“There was a fight, but it’s unknown whether it was a mutual combat because he said something to them,” Becker said. “We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no evidence it was a hate crime at this time.”

The incident reportedly occurred around 1:30 a.m. on March 18. The victim, who Becker said is a man in his late 20s, allegedly left a bar or nightclub in the area and claimed he was assaulted by three men who asked if he was gay. The victim suffered facial bruising and later went on his own to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment. Becker said although the victim said there were three assailants, a witness told police there were two attackers, and that they assaulted the victim after he became involved in an argument with them. Becker added that the victim was apparently intoxicated when the incident occurred.

“We are actively investigating, but it’s not looking like it went down the way the victim is saying,” Becker said. “He reportedly got into a fight and somebody asked if he was gay. A witness said they never heard anything about someone being gay. [The victim] claims it happened around one-thirty but he didn’t go to the hospital until around four, so we don’t have an exact time when it occurred. He was in stable condition. It wasn’t a beat down, and there were no weapons involved.”

Becker added that he is reviewing video from a surveillance camera in the area, but has not been able to corroborate the victim’s claim.

He added, however, that the investigation would continue. Anyone with information is asked to contact major assault crimes detectives with the LAPD’s Hollywood Division at (213)972-2967.

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