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...
After several days of investigation, Spokane police have determined that Cody Castagna, the young man and part-time porn actor who allegedly attempted to extort money from former Washington state Rep. Richard Curtis, was part of a larger group of men who formed an extortion ring. Curtis, who resigned as a legislator last week following the release of a sordid police report, was apparently their latest target.
KOMO TV reports: "According to police reports, the [Castagna and Curtis] went to the Davenport Hotel. There, Curtis claims, the 26-year-old stole his wallet and demanded $1,000. Curtis said he only had $200, which he left at the hotel's front desk. Police said Castagna may be part of a larger group that targets gay men for extortion. In Curtis' case, the group designated a flower pot at a Spokane part (ed: I believe they mean "park") as the drop-off point for the remaining $800. Detectives believe the group has done this before. 'There were multiple threats and payoffs,' said Sgt. Joe Peterson. 'In this instance it seems like it was not the first time and we've been told by other people it's not the first time the suspects have done this type of thing.' Spokane police are releasing few details and said at least three different people are involved, including Castagna's cousins. They urge any other victims of extortion to contact Spokane police."
Police released a surveillance photo (above) which they say shows a friend of Castagna's who took part in the extortion entering the Davenport hotel to receive the envelope with Curtis' cash in it. The man then left the hotel with the money.
Dan Savage, writing for the Seattle paper The Stranger took a fascinating trip to Spokane to retrace Richard Curtis' steps, stayed at the Davenport Towers (photo, above right) , and ended up visiting a gay bar where he ran into none other than Cody Castagna. It's a must read.
Writes Savage: "I find myself feeling bad for Curtis. What a sad and solitary figure. He couldn't risk staying at the same hotel with the rest of the GOP colleagues, lest they spot him coming and going with young thugs. So he slunk off to the soulless Davenport Tower alone, before slipping into the Hollywood Erotic Boutique alone, before heading to the Northwest Quest Casino alone, before heading back to his hotel to have sex with a man whose name he didn't know—a man who thought he was a freak."
That's what Castagna told him when he ran into him at gay bar Dempsey's: "Richard Curtis is a freak. A big, gay freak."
Police: Photo supports Curtis' claims of extortion [komo]
Straight Acting [the stranger]
James E. West, the ousted Mayor of Spokane, who hypocritically supported anti-gay legislation while frequenting gay chat rooms and allegedly offering city jobs to young men he met there, has died of cancer in Seattle at age 55.
West's internet activities were tracked by The Spokesman Review, which published its results in a scandalous exposé in spring 2005. West adamantly denied he had done anything wrong and refused to resign his office after the scandal broke. He was later forced from office by a recall petition circulated among citizens who were angry at the politician's use of his office for personal benefit.
A figure in Washington politics for 20 years, West had the opportunity several times to advance gay rights causes: As Mayor of Spokane, West opposed domestic partner benefits for City Hall workers in 2003 yet the City Council voted for the measure with enough of a majority to withstand a mayoral veto. As Senate majority leader, he held up a gay rights bill in committee, where it died. West voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and opposed gay rights bills in '85 and '87.
Yet when West's activities with young gay men were exposed, the Mayor claimed that his sexuality and private activities on the Internet were off-limits, and he denied using city computers inappropriately while condemning the "brutal outing" that had soiled his name.
Later, in an email to one of his constituents, he said that God had forgiven him, and that was all he needed.
James West was recalled from office in December 2005.
Just Doesn't Get It [tr]
James West Denies Allegations, Refuses to Resign [tr]
James West Regrets Visiting Gay Chat Rooms [tr]
The Hypocrite Speaks [tr]
Spokane Mayor James West Finally Ousted from Office [tr]