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Violent attacks continue on Capitol Hill
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Violent attacks continue on Capitol Hill

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

On August 25 at approximately 1 a.m., independent freelance artist Sean B. was attacked outside of the QFC on Broadway near E. Harrison St. According to Sean, who moved to Seattle from Los Angeles, California three years ago, the attack was completely unprovoked.

The 26-year-old said he and a female friend exited the QFC and began walking towards E. Olive St. to go back to Sean's house. Within seconds, he said, a man around the same age as him, also walking with a female friend, walked towards them.

"He flashed a very intimidating look as he got closer," Sean told SGN. "As he walked past me, we brushed shoulders. That's when he attacked me."

Sean said the man called him a "faggot" and hit him in the face, leaving Sean with a black eye. The attack happened so quickly that he mistakenly thought the man had punched him, but the friend who witnessed the attack told him he'd been elbowed. He said his attacker appeared to be high on crystal meth.

The two men began to scuffle in front of the store. Sean said he flagged down an SPD car so they could arrest the man, who began to walk away as the police arrived.

That's when, according to Sean, the situation became strange.

"I pointed out my attacker to the police officers," Sean said. "The man and his friend had crossed the street so the cop had to yell at him to come back over to the scene."

Sean said what was disturbing is the police officer knew the man by name, saying, "Ramon, get over here!" Then the officer said, "The last time I arrested you, you were throwing people into the street. What did you do this time?"

Sean said the police treated the situation like "a fight between two people, when the truth is I was called a name and attacked."

He admits that he was intoxicated, but not drunk enough to say that alcohol was to blame for the attack. Sean maintains he said nothing to the man until after he was hit.

"The police kept talking down to me, like I was a child," he told SGN. "Then the man's friend told the police that Ramon attacked me because I threw a bottle at him."

The officer told Sean that since there were no witnesses, it was his word against that of the attacker and his friend. At that point, he said, he realized his attacker was going to get away with it. Sean did not file a police report. He said he became overly emotional and just wanted an apology.

"The officers told me they could not force anyone to apologize and were very uncaring," he said. "I was obviously assaulted, and the fact that the word 'faggot' had been used made it even more demeaning."

He said the man the police called Ramon offered an insincere apology and simply walked away. After they let the man go, Sean said, he and his friend went around the corner and he sat down and began to cry.

"A man who lives in an apartment building nearby heard me crying and came outside to sympathize with me," he said. "My eye had begun to swell so the man went inside and got some ice for me to put on it."

He said the man told him that attacks are on the rise around Capitol Hill, and said someone who thought he was Gay had recently attacked him. The man, according to Sean, is heterosexual.

"Nothing is happening to stop the rise in violence on Capitol Hill," Sean said. "The attacks are escalating and the police are doing nothing."

He said he doesn't understand why, especially during times when the bars are closing, there aren't more police patrols visible on the streets. He said some of his friends who have grown up in Seattle have told him that they've seen or heard about "more attacks during the last three years than that's happened in 20 years."

"I think that everyone needs to be aware," he said. "When something like this happens in our community, people need to come forward."

He added that he recommends people walk home in groups whenever possible and that, unfortunately, he no longer views Seattle as being as safe a place for Gay people to live as he had previously.

Still, he says, he believes he was attacked because he is Gay, but is worried for everyone's safety on Capitol Hill, not just the LGBT community.

"This is not a Gay issue; it is a human issue," Sean said. "It's become obvious that on Capitol Hill, anyone can be attacked at any time."

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