After an alleged attack on a gay couple, an Austin man formed a ‘Rainbow Patrol’ to provide a sense of safety to LGBT community.
Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry, a gay couple in Austin, Texas, were attacked while leaving a nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning, targeted because they were holding hands.
Deehring told KXAN that they were attacked near 7th Street and Red River Street by a man who had called them a homophobic slur and the man’s friends.
Said Deehring: “They started following behind us pretty closely yelling every expletive you can think of. The last thing I said to one of the guys before they attacked both of us was like, ‘I don’t have anything more to say to you guys, we’re just going home, leave us alone.'”
The attack left the gay couple beaten and bruised near the Fourth Street area in Downtown Austin.
The nightclub they had been at offered an $11K award for information leading to an arrest. The Statesman reports: “The owners of Rain nightclub and Oilcan Harry’s had initially been offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. On Wednesday, they posted an update to their Facebook page saying they had received numerous donations and were able to increase the reward to $11,000.”
Collin Acock formed the “Rainbow Patrol” last Tuesday after learning about the incident.
“It sparked something very deep in me and very personal,” Acock said. “I got fed up, and I was like, ‘You know, it’s time to bring back the rainbow guard.”
“It’s supposed to be our playground, and it feels like there’s some bullies on our playground, and that’s not how we do that here,” Acock said.
“We’re totally peaceful, not going to be carrying in any way shape or form,” Acock continued. “We have whistles. We have flashlights. We have reflective gear. We’re loud We’re visibly loud.”
Right now, the “Rainbow Patrol” meets on Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
If you’d like to volunteer, you can sign up here.
A spokesperson with the Austin Police Department told KVUE there are no new updates in the Jan. 19 attack, which detectives are investigating as a possible hate crime.
Dozens of supporters rallied to end hate crimes Saturday night in support of the couple.
The #EndHateCrimes rally started at 4th Street and Lavaca and ended at the steps of the Texas State Capitol.
Organizers used the moment to call attention to the rise in hate crime violence and also said they wanted to see more protections for LGBTQ people experiencing hate crimes.
“I can say, for myself, I’m doing moderately alright,” Perry told CBS. “It’s kind of scary getting back out in public and being so vulnerable, but I’m really glad to be surrounded by so many people that have the same vision in mind for all of us to come together as a community.”