An alleged June 29 gaybashing against two Victoria men is being investigated as a hate crime, police in BC’s capital say.
A 47-year-old man could be facing two charges of assault after a dispute between neighbours escalated, says Sgt Grant Hamilton of the Victoria Police Department.
Donell McDonell, 45, says the situation was the culmination of weeks of problems with parties at his next-door neighbour’s house in Victoria’s swanky Rockland neighbourhood.
He says garbage, cigarette butts and beer cans were routinely being thrown into the yard of the house where he lives with his partner David St Jean, 47.
“It’s been driving my partner nuts for four years,” McDonell says.
On the night in question, St Jean had had enough and went out to confront the partiers.
McDonell says there was a lot of swearing and screaming and his partner was kicked and shoved against a wall by a man.
“He grabbed David by the wrists and pulled him up off the ground,” McDonell alleges.
When McDonell called the police, the alleged assailant approached him and grabbed him by the wrists.
“He cocked back his fist to hit me,” McDonell alleges.
He says he broke free but received cuts to his ankles and scratches to his wrists.
“The language as usual got really nasty,” he continues. “They were going to piss all over our rainbow and make us cry and move out of the neighbourhood.”
When police sirens were heard, McDonell says one of the men with the assailant ran into the neighbour’s house and locked the doors, turned off the lights, closed the blinds and wouldn’t answer the door to police.
The other man, he says, ran away down the street yelling back at St Jean and McDonell.
“He seemed to be really focused on what we do sexually,” McDonell says.
“‘You’re fucking each other up the ass, sucking each other’s dicks,'” the assailant allegedly yelled.
“I’ve never seen him with a girl,” McDonell notes. “He seems to have put a lot of thought into this.”
The next morning, McDonell says, the man who was cowering in the neighbour’s house hiding from police returned to get his van and began making threats again. Again, the police were called.
Hamilton confirms allegations McDonell was assaulted and references were made with regard to his sexuality during the incident.
He says when St Jean attempted to intervene, he too was assaulted and further comments were made.
“The information is being pursued as a hate crime,” Hamilton says. “Crown counsel has been advised of that.”
The suspect’s name has not been released as he has not yet been formally charged in the case.
McDonell wants to know why the charge-approval process is taking so long with the Crown.
He notes the July 1 case in Vancouver where a gay man was allegedly attacked on Davie St and charges were filed almost immediately.
McDonell says the issue of violence against queers is one that needs to be addressed by the provincial government through education and sensitivity training for kids as young as kindergarten “so children learn it’s not okay to act like this.
“It should start in schools,” he says.
“We’ve won some major rights in Canada,” McDonell says. “I think the government needs to use some cultural awareness training to say it’s not okay to treat gay people like this.”
McDonell says the police were very professional in handling the situation and helped calm him and St Jean down after the altercation.