Crime | West Virginia

Gay Man Claims Police Beat Him, Called Him Gay Slurs

Timothy Michael Mazza has accused three Parkersburg, West Virginia police officers of kicking him in the ribs, grabbing him violently by the neck and also shouting homophobic slurs at him, such as "Now take that, you f--ing queer," during an incident in October of 2009. At the time, Mazaa himself was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer but those charges were later dismissed. Last week, he filed a lawsuit against the city related to the brutal beating, which he claims was unprovoked, that he received from the three police officers.

According to Mazza, officer M.W. Eichhorn seemed to be the most aggressive of the three. His scenario of the way things went down that night as witnessed by Mazza's partner Kevin Swearingen and printed in the Charelston Gazette which, if true, is disturbing.

Mazza said an officer - whom he now believes was Eichhorn - grabbed him by the neck and kicked him in the ribs. It was Eichhorn, he says, who then called him the gay slur. says he witnessed what happened.Swearingen "He wanted to go inside, and they yanked him back and threw him down on the deck," Swearingen said. Both men say the incident happened very fast, in 15 or 20 seconds.

Mazza said that as he lay on the ground, his side hurting from a broken rib, the officers were joking and laughing at him, making jokes with sexual innuendos. "One of them said, 'Look, he's going to go for your gun,'" Mazza said.

Swearingen said that after Mazza was kicked in the ribs, police put him on his feet and took him to jail. As they took Mazza away, Swearingen said, Mazza asked him to call his mother, which he did. "She asked me what he was being arrested for and I told her I didn't know," Swearingen said.

Mazza was arrested and charged with the two counts of battery on a police officer - the charges that were dismissed. Before he got in the cruiser and on the ride to the station, Mazza said, he did not speak to the officers, but that they continued to insult his homosexuality.

"One said, 'What, does the cat got your tongue, faggot?'" Mazza recalled.

Mazza's attorney: "It's my personal belief that because he identified himself as a homosexual early on in the discussion, their response to that was of the hate-crime variety."

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  1. Disgusting!

    Don't we pay taxes too?

    Bash back.

    Posted by: New Jersey Girl | Jun 27, 2010 3:36:37 PM

  2. Bash back? Now, I'm all for kicking a gay basher until he can't move anymore, but these were pigs. Never hit a piggy...big mistakey.

    And now prepare for the inevitable "gay" gay bash denialists. For example, "this is awful suspicious"..."that's photoshopped bruise!"

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 27, 2010 3:50:42 PM

  3. I live in Parkersburg and am rather surprised to hear of this. From my experiences around our police force they've seemed to be accepting and stand-up kinds of guys.

    From reading the article on the Gazette's website and the subsequent comments, it seems as if he does have a case. Bob Newell, our mayor, is an absolute joke. Mazza is apparently the son of a police officer as well, so I think he'd know his limits.

    Posted by: Matt | Jun 27, 2010 3:52:44 PM

  4. don't think people should rush to judge the police officers before all the facts come out, police officers have a very difficult job with low pay, so I am willing to wait to hear all the facts.

    Posted by: MickW | Jun 27, 2010 4:49:44 PM

  5. mick: I don't care how low paying the job is, as a police officer, you know the stress and pressure that will come along with it. Don't make excuses. If they can't cut it on the job, then they shouldn't be one.

    Posted by: B | Jun 27, 2010 5:57:56 PM

  6. Yeah, read the full account in the Charleston Gazette. Unless there's something incredibly significant being left out of that story, it's hard to imagine how Mazza (the arrested gay man) would have ended up first committing "battery" on THREE police officers who showed up at his home on what sounds like it should have been pretty mundane business. That charge is suspicious in itself.

    The article notes: "Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell and Police Chief Joe Martin dispute Mazza's claims. Newell said that if what Mazza claims is true, he should have talked to police - not to a lawyer and the news media."

    Yeah, I'm sure they WOULD have greatly preferred that, except that, more and more, gay men have found that that's exactly the course they SHOULDN'T follow-- and it's because of a history of bad faith police work (hello, Texas and Georgia) that just reporting it back to the police sometimes doesn't sound like such a great idea.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jun 27, 2010 6:06:46 PM

  7. Loving the chandelier...

    Posted by: Graham Anderson | Jun 27, 2010 10:08:23 PM

  8. It seems this case has legs. Especially since the charges against the man in question against the three police officers was dropped. If they had a case against the guy they would have assuredly pursued that case.

    And not for nothing, but anybody in their right mind wouldn't purposefully go into a 3 - 1 fight. That's like asking for an ass whipping. So clearly the attack against this man was not provoked by the police officers feeling as if they were in any clear and present danger. I'm not saying it's beyond the realm of imagination the guy didn't toss out a few anti-police slurs of his own when they came to his house (that would have been stupid, but stupider things have happened). But even if he did it certainly didn't deserve the beatdown this man got. I'll be interested to see how all this plays out.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jun 27, 2010 11:38:55 PM

  9. Right. Mr. Mazza would go and talk to the superiors of the officers who battered him and called him out of his name. How stupid does this mayor think the victim is? I am just happy that Mr. Mazza lived to tell the tale.

    Posted by: Verdon Coleman | Jun 27, 2010 11:39:22 PM

  10. Somebody has a lawsuit coming their way, did you know that it is a hate crime for POLICE OFFICERS who should be out protecting people instead assaulting them. Police officers should know the difference. I hope they get tough prison sentences and get raped FORCIBLY! Then they can be somebody's prison bitch that have to wear "fuck me" as they go around the prison yard. Somebody needs to stand up and say something...stand up and be counted!

    Posted by: Jeff Dunivant | Jun 28, 2010 8:53:17 AM

  11. So "queer" is still a homophobic slur? Goodness gracious . . . who knew? Whatever happened to appropriating ugly labels so that they can't hurt us anymore? How's that reclaiming-empowering stuff workin' for ya, people?

    Posted by: Stuffed Animals | Jun 28, 2010 1:35:52 PM

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