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Spokane Police Say Alleged Anti-Gay Hate Crime Just a Drunken Brawl: VIDEO

Danny Hawkins, a Spokane, Washinton man, enlisted the local gay rights group Out Spokane over the weekend in taking the claims that an attack on him was bias-related to the media, KXLY reports:

Hawkins Hawkins said at a news conference Saturday afternoon at the LGBT center in North Spokane that he was attacked as he left Dempsey's Brass Rail around one a.m. because he touched a man's car. Hawkins explains he put his hand on the hood of the car, thinking that the driver was unaware he was there and was in danger of being struck by the vehicle. Hawkins says this was a hate crime because the man who beat him up was yelling gay slurs.

Police don't buy Hawkins' story:

Sergeant Tom Lee, who was not the responding officer but spoke to the officer who was there and read through the report, says there is nothing to indicate Hawkins was beat up because of his sexual orientation. The officers on scene noted Hawkins banged on the hood of the man's car and didn't simply just touch it. They also noted in the report that there were no witnesses to the crime to corroborate Hawkins' story that the man who beat him up was yelling gay slurs. Lee says Hawkins was also extremely intoxicated, and wasn't able to give the responding officer his own address or birthday.

Watch KXLY's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Ok.... HE was beaten!!!!! I was beaten before and I was unable to tell the Police who the hell I was for days.... This is BS.

    Posted by: Stone | Oct 10, 2011 10:15:55 AM

  2. So he was drunk AND gay. He sooooo deserved to get crap beaten out of him then.

    Posted by: Gigi | Oct 10, 2011 10:19:10 AM

  3. Stone, that's exactly what I was thinking. Just looking at his injuries that are obviously not "fresh" means he had some serious head trauma... that in addition to alcohol use is bound to have some affect on his memory.

    I really hated how at the end of that piece the interviewer said how they'd tried to follow up and Hawkins hadn't returned their calls. If in their interviews, they treated him like they treat his attack here, I can see perfectly well why he hasn't.

    Posted by: theotherlee | Oct 10, 2011 10:26:06 AM

  4. Wait a minute..."The officers on scene noted Hawkins banged on the hood of the man's car and didn't simply just touch it" like, were they there and saw it? But no witnesses to back up his story? Or are they just taking the word of the guy that beat him up over his?

    Posted by: jag | Oct 10, 2011 11:05:48 AM

  5. Regardless of whether it was the result of intoxication or concussion, his inability to provide his birthday or address speaks to the reliability and accuracy of his recounting of events. I choose not to ignore the statement in the report embedded here that "both men admitted that they acted inappropriately". I also choose to believe that there were no third-party witnesses to the purported slurs. Finally, I can totally picture the intoxicated Hawkins banging on the hood and then saying that he "touched" it. Any charges of media bias here are disingenuous at best.

    Posted by: Briman | Oct 10, 2011 11:12:56 AM

  6. I feel like every time someone in our community gets beat up, its automatically a hate crime. We can get beat up for being stupid and drunk, it doesn't always have to be because we are gay.

    Posted by: ScottyNorq | Oct 10, 2011 11:26:07 AM

  7. I have worked with hate crimes investigators before (though not investigated them, I support government projects, but am not a civil servant anymore) and the one thing they say over and over again is that determining whether something is a hate crime or not is an ugly business that almost always gets a lot more consideration than they get credit for.

    The key is that they have to determine whether or not the attack was initially **instigated or motivated** by bias. If someone attacks someone for an unrelated reason, and did not single the victim out for the attack because he was gay or black or (insert protected class here) but later started shouting things directed at that person's class, its at best murky. Very few hate crimes laws allow for the "grey area" where the attack becomes MORE SEVERE because of hate, even if it was instigtated/motivated by something else.

    So much hinges on whether the motivation or instigating reason was bias. And in this case its fairly easy to come to the conclusion that the *motivation* for the attack was the highly intoxicated victim slamming his hand down on the car (debated how hard, sure, but how often have you been drunk/been around someone who's drunk who thinks they're speaking normally but is actually really loud, or thinks they only "pushed" a door, but it slams open--when you're drunk you can't judge those things, let alone remember them clearly).

    Now was it appropriate to beat someone severely and call them gay (which, btw, backwards straight guys have been known to do when enraged, regardless of whether or not the target of their anger was gay--and even when they know they are not) for touching, even hitting your car or for a million other reasons? NO, but we have existing assault and battery laws that stand alone and apply even when there is no hate bias.

    There's also the matter of the fact that there were no witnesses, so it's he said/he said and the victim was drunk off his rear end. Thus there's serious doubt as to whether a hate crimes charge would stick or be considered frivolous by a judge or jury. Remember the Lawrence King trial a few weeks ago? All of the jurors interviewed so far have condemned the "overcharging" of the case and viewed the hate crimes charge as the one that was most unecessary. Whether you agree with that or not (I don't) it proves that adding a hate crimes charge when you can't absolutely back it up IN COURT, can lead to both hung juries and acquittals, where the attacker CAN GO FREE because the case was mis-charged.

    After meeting those guys I saw the whole thing in a new light--and understand why cases like these (which even I find doubtful to be a hate crime, by this definition, based on the facts)aren't charged as such. In this case, it's almost begging NOT to be charged as a hate crime. There's just too much doubt/lack of clarity as to everything about it except what started it: the victim placing his hand (however hard) on the attacker(who did commit illegal battery, no question)'s car. THAT has nothing to do with his sexuality. Remember, if it wasn't motivated by hate, it doesn't matter whether hateful words were shouted during the attack--that's almost par for the course during an assault. By definition this person was going unreasonably nuts on another person.

    So don't be so hard on the cops when you read these stories--and it sounds like the victim isn't making any friends (or gaining sympathy with potential jurors) by trying to make it more than they can legally prove it was. I believe he is sincere and believe a hate crime was committed against him, but again, someone should have explained what makes a hate crime and what does not (it's not hate, it's hate as motivation). If they have explained that and he's still campaigning, while I feel his pain, I am inclined to save my outrage for the many indisputable cases of hate crimes where bigoted cops or prosecutors aren't doing their jobs. I just don't think this is one of them.

    Posted by: anonymous | Oct 10, 2011 12:54:55 PM

  8. Since there was no eye witness, the best people can do is learn from this and how to make sure you're not caught in this situation: 1. Don't touch people's cars, especially late at night. You never know if they are drunk or looking for trouble. Wait until they pass before safely crossing the street. 2. If leaving a club late at night, make sure not to do it alone, unless you live in a safe area. 3. Learn how to defend yourself. If you're old enought to go to a bar, you're old enough to take lessons on self defense (Karate, Judo, Krav Maga, Boxing, etc.) Skip a couple weekend shopping sprees and spring for the defense class and be able to stand up to these attackers!!!

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Oct 10, 2011 1:11:15 PM

  9. Who cares if he WAS attacked because he was gay (not that he was in this case)? From the looks of it, he is a rather large man who should be able to defend himself against another man acting alone, unless the other guy was some kind of giant, which I doubt....and if he fails to do so and gets his a$$ kicked because he wouldn't fight back (or did not know how), then he has only himself to blame.

    Stop being a whiny little sissy, learn how to fight, fight back if necessary, and you won't have any problems. Simple as that.

    Trust me, it works--I know that from experience.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 10, 2011 1:55:01 PM

  10. Good points by the recent comments. If we're really going to be taken seriously and truly push for hate crimes legislation and enforcement we can't treat these issues lightly. For those who just immediately jump to the "hate crime" position without really having good information, you're actually doing the LGBT community a disservice because of the issue of "crying wolf" too many times.

    I'm all for prosecuting a hate crime if the individual or groups has a propensity to attacking BECAUSE of a person's orientation or expression. But just because one of the individuals was gay and the attacker made gay slurs doesn't merit enough to make it a hate crime.

    Posted by: RBearSAT | Oct 10, 2011 1:55:39 PM

  11. Rick: He was drunk. I could beat a UFC champion if he's drunk. The lesson here is don't get hammered outside your home if you don't have friends to take care of you. Yes, learning self-defense is valuable (I personally recommend Krav Maga) but it won't be of any use to you if you are heavily inebriated or high.

    Posted by: JC | Oct 10, 2011 2:19:19 PM

  12. I grew up in Spokane & I left the afternoon of my high school graduation. The gun toting, pick-up driving,mullet wearing population is stuck in a time warp where it is forever 1975. I think they would consider beating up queers as a hobby.

    Posted by: Stephen | Oct 10, 2011 2:20:05 PM

  13. @JC OK, fine, he was drunk. I seriously doubt, however, that he would have fought back even if he had not been; I mean, the very fact that he is trying to make himself into a "victim" by trying to bring the law into it supports that contention......(under exactly the same circumstances, how many straight guys would have done what he did?....practically none, I would venture to guess)

    Most of this "campaign" against bullying and "hate crimes" is just another manifestation of the deficient masculinity of gay men, in general (which they have learned and can unlearn). It is nothing but the institutional equivalent of hiding behind Mommie's skirts. And it reinforces the image of gay men as weak, effeminate, and inferior.

    Being attacked by a group is one thing, but being a coward (let's just call a spade a spade here) in an encounter with another man is quite another and most of these cases fall into the latter category.

    And I don't see any need for martial arts training, either, although it cannot hurt--simply knowing how to throw a punch and being willing to do so if necessary is usually quite sufficient.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 10, 2011 2:33:36 PM

  14. There is little difference between stupid drunk gay & stupid drunk straight, well except the straight man is more likely to experiment with being gay than the gay is to experiment with being straight.

    Posted by: Kenn I | Oct 10, 2011 3:07:53 PM

  15. I grew up in Spokane (cv class of 89!) and I can tell you from first-hand experience that Spokane is one of the most racist and homophobic cities in the US. My friends (both gay and straight) were constantly attacked for no apparent reason on multiple occasions.
    This is just the cities way of down playing what happens every day of the year there.

    Posted by: Seamonster | Oct 10, 2011 3:24:16 PM

  16. I see nothing has changed in Spokane, it was the same was with the cops there 15 years ago.

    Posted by: NVTodd | Oct 11, 2011 3:06:58 AM

  17. 1 - Control your drinking. A lot of these incidents involve one or both parties involved being drunk and/or high [on both legal and/or illegal drugs].

    2 - Assuming you're sane and sober, don't provoke confrontations, including 'touching' someone's car. I know a lot of movies, tv shows, video games depict people talking smack, acting 'hard', etc. In real life, be prepared for potential violence when engaging in such behavior.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2011 7:17:10 AM

  18. @RATBASTARD well said. I think that if we're going to take responsibility for truly standing up for the LGBT community and going after those who really are out to commit a hate crime we have to act in a responsible manner. It's hard for the scales of justice to balance when we act irresponsibly.

    Posted by: RBearSAT | Oct 11, 2011 11:58:47 AM

  19. Why is it that celebs keep getting away with gay bashing and bullying? Brandon Baker (a Spok motocross star) has been actively bullying a boy on youtube, and for the strangest reason!

    Please...any help would be greatly appreciated as i am in NH and cannot deal with this n person.

    See Brandon Baker's comments.

    Posted by: Rob | Sep 4, 2014 11:53:52 PM

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