Two Gay Men Attacked by Group of 10 in Alleged Hate Crime
Two men were attacked last week at a Center City parking garage and believe the incident may have been motivated by their perceived sexual orientation.
Timmay Barlow and Scott McCrea say a group of 10 attacked them at about 2:15 a.m. Jan. 24 in the E-Z Park parking garage at 16th and South streets.
According to McCrea, the two were coming from Bob & Barbara’s, 1509 South St., where Barlow, who also goes by the stage name “Gio Michaels,” had performed drag that night and still had makeup on.
“There was one girl who told us, ‘You are in the wrong neighborhood, I am the only girl here,’” McCrea said. “She also asked, ‘Where did this freak come from?’ She was making comments on Tim’s makeup.”
About 10 people then jumped out of three different vehicles, McCrea said, and attacked the two. McCrea was dragged away from Barlow to a different part of the lot, where his coat was forced over his head and he was beaten.
“They kicked me and took my car keys,” McCrea said, noting he suffered two black eyes.
Barlow’s wallet was stolen and he sustained injuries to his face, for which he will need surgery.
McCrea said the female who made the initial comment was African-American, but he and Barlow did not get a good look at the other attackers.
According to McCrea, there was no parking-garage attendant on the scene at the time of the incident.
McCrea said the personnel at E-Z Park are not assuming responsibility for the incident and have charged McCrea for holding his car overnight, which he said he can’t move because his keys were stolen.
“I had a locksmith come out and it will take two weeks for me to get new keys,” he said.
Investigators interviewed McCrea Tuesday.
South Detective Division Capt. Laurence Nodiff said detectives uncovered surveillance video of the attack.
“Based on looking at interviews and the circumstance here, what I believe is one of the victims was a performer and still had some of his makeup on. There were some slurs verbalized and so, based on the totality of those circumstances, it started initially as a parking dispute and then escalated into inappropriate words and the assault,” he said.
McCrea said there wasn’t an issue about parking; rather, the woman who confronted them appeared offended that they were in the parking garage.
“It wasn’t anything about parking — but that we were in her parking lot,” he said.
Nodiff said investigators are considering the possibility that the incident was a hate crime motivated by the victims’ perceived sexual orientation.
“It is something that we are looking into and if we are able to substaintiate that, we will request the appropriate charges from the District Attorney’s office,” Nodiff said.
McCrea, originally from Ohio, said he and Barlow, of Media, usually feel safe walking around the city, although he noticed that the parking lot is not well-lit.
Philly Pride Presents president Franny Price said she’s concerned that the incident is indicative of a larger trend.
“For years, you haven’t heard of major gay-bashing and then all of a sudden within one month, there are two incidents where people get really hurt,” she said, referencing a New Year’s Eve incident in which a gay couple was attacked on Chestnut Street in the Gayborhood. “There are still people in the world that will never understand the LGBT community.”
From our media partners PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News.