2 min

Man charged in alleged gaybashing

Minor injuries reported, police respond quickly

At about 3:30am a man allegedly attacked Chris Bell, 38, as Bell and his boyfriend, Ben Pearcy, 43, and another friend were sitting in the parkette adjacent to Fly Nightclub at 8 Gloucester St in Toronto.

During the ensuing scuffle the man allegedly repeatedly screamed, “Fucking faggot, you’re gonna die tonight.”

According to Bell the man approached the group of friends from across Gloucester St and started shouting antigay slurs at them. As he got closer Bell says Pearcy told the man to “move along.” The man then allegedly pushed Bell before punching him in the face. Bell allegedly punched back and the two allegedly scuffled for about 10 minutes. The man allegedly punched Bell repeatedly while shouting, “This is the last face you’re going to see tonight faggot because you’re going to die.”

When security at Fly were informed of what was happening they allegedly dragged the man off Bell. At that point, says Bell, the man left the scene and the police were called.

Bell says as many as five police cars converged on the scene and, while the victims were giving their statements to police, the man returned — this time allegedly brandishing hedge clippers and threatening to use them as a weapon. Bell says he and Pearcy told police it was the same man who attacked them minutes earlier. The man was arrested on the spot.

Bell refused medical attention for his injuries but says he has multiple bruises and scratches on his face and body.

“I have pain all over,” he told Xtra.

Bell says he also has emotional scars.

“I’ve been going to the club since it opened and never experienced anything like this before,” he says. “We always do the same thing. We go outside and I smoke. Nothing like this has ever happened to me, not even back home in Jamaica. So this is going to be in the back of my mind for the rest of my life. Every time I go out the door I’m going to be thinking about this.”

But, says Bell, he’s not going let the actions of one man keep him from living his life.

“If I stopped going out then he wins,” he says. “I’m not going to let someone do that to me. I’ll just be more alert, more aware of my surroundings and have other people around me.”

A few days after the alleged attack Bell went to the police station in his neighbourhood — High Park — where he says officers photographed his injuries.

Roy Edward Deans, 36, of Toronto, is charged with two counts of assault and one count of threatening bodily harm in connection with the incident. Deans is being held pending a bail hearing.