Toronto
2 min

Gay men try to track their own bashers

After police failed to nab their bashers, two gay men did the research themselves.



“It started in front of Whiskey Saigon at Augusta and Richmond,” says Alex McClelland.



At about 2 am on Jun 7, McClelland and friend, Alon Freeman, were on their bikes waiting for the streetlight to change.



“A taxi cab was beside us and was full of these guys and they started yelling, kind of like, ‘Jew, kike, fag’ at us.”



The light changed and the cab moved on. But an angry McClelland picked up a tennis ball and whipped it at the cab.



It stopped. A passenger got out and chased McClelland and Freeman down to King St, where the two got separated.



Freeman went west on King – followed by the taxi.



“Seconds later I was cut off by the cab and basically pinned to the curb so I didn’t have a chance to turn my wheel and get up on the curb,” says Freeman.



Another passenger got out and continued with anti-Semitic and homophobic comments before hitting Freeman about the face and body.



After the attack, Freeman hopped on his bike and pedaled east on King, where McClelland was getting beaten and strangled.



Meanwhile, others, including security guards from a nearby office building, stood by and watched.



“I was trying to get them to call police,” says Freeman.



The attack ended as Freeman threatened the bashers with his bike lock. The two gay men rode off to a nearby park to collect themselves.



The next day, battered and bruised, they called police. But the investigation seemed to go no where.



“When it first happened the police said all the right things, they were like: We’re going to take this very seriously, it’s obviously a hate crime and stuff like that,” says McClelland.



But since then, the two believe little was done. So they did it on their own.



Through the office of Downtown City Councillor Kyle Rae, they set up discussions with the Municipal Licensing And Standards Office, which in turn tracked down the cab driver and, under by-law 20-85, laid charges that include “Cab Driver Show Discrimination” and “Cab Driver Fail to Report Accident.”



If convicted, the driver could lose his license and face a $5,000 fine.



McClelland and Freeman are stumped over why police haven’t charged the cabbie.



The investigating detective at 52 Division says he’s questioned a couple of cabbies and called witnesses but doesn’t have enough evidence to lay charges.



To add to the confusion, there’s a very big discrepancy.



Police records indicate the incident happened Jun 14. Freeman and McClelland are sure it happened Jun 7.



In addition to getting the cabbie and bashers, McClelland and Freeman have considered suing the security company who’s employees watched the attack without doing anything.



Freeman says: “I’d like to see is some official recognition from both the cab company and the security company that they might take steps to educate their employees about situations like what happened to Alex and I.”