2 min

Assault on leather men

Police treating attack as a hate crime

Ottawa police are treating an assault on two members of the Ottawa Knights Leather and Denim Club as a hate crime.

Norm Miller and Squeaky (aka Gerald Legault) were assault-ed after leaving Centertown Pub during the early hours of Sun, Jun 15. Both are long- standing members of the Ottawa Knights, well known in the leather community and avid supporters of leather events and bar nights at Cell Block. Legault suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital where he was examined and later released.

Detective Will Hinterberger of the Ottawa City Police Department’s Hate Crime Section has confirmed to Capital Xtra that the matter is being treated as a hate crime.

“After interviewing the victims, we have concluded that the matter should be investigated by the hate crime section,” says Hinterberger. “We are looking for two white English-speaking males in their late teens or early 20s who confronted the victims around the Gloucester and Kent St area around 3am on Sun, Jun 15. The two made anti-gay and other derogatory remarks to the victims during the assault.”

Norm Miller, a former Mr Leather Ottawa, was able to escape from his attackers and call the police. He says the assailants came out of nowhere.

“I have no doubt that these guys had been stalking the area because they seemed to know our moves,” says Miller. “One had his fist raised and was yelling, ‘Fucking little faggots, I am going to bash your head in.'”

Squeaky, who suffered several kicks to the stomach and a minor concussion in the attack, says he feels those responsible may still be hanging around the Gloucester-Kent St area and asks anyone walking in that area to be careful.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to us, but we did nothing wrong,” says Squeaky. He would like to see workshops to help teach warning signs and make the community more street-smart to help prevent this from happening again. “We have to watch out for each other.”

Despite the incident, Miller considers himself a survivor more than a victim. He says this just reinforces that the streets are not safe and urges the community to be careful.

“This incident in no way means I will not walk home again,” Miller says. “I am certainly not going to be housebound. These guys win if we become prisoners.”

Miller says this is just another reason why MP Svend Robinson’s private member’s bill to include sexual orientation in hate crime legislation has to make its way into law. “This may not prevent things like this happening, but it just may make people think twice.”

Both Miller and Legault say they are extremely satisfied with the way police have handled their case. “The police have been excellent through all of this. They were quick to respond, very understanding and concerned about our welfare and emotional state.” Miller says no more than five minutes passed from the time he called 911 to when police arrived.

Anyone with any information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call the Hate Crimes Section at 236-1222 ext 2467.