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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 27, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 21
Portland assault investigated as a bias crime
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Portland assault investigated as a bias crime

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Brad Forkner and Christopher Rosevear were walking east across the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon, on the evening of May 22, vaguely aware of a group of young men behind them, reported Helen Jung of The Oregonian.

The two were out for a stroll, said Forkner, 23, of southeast Portland. It was about 8:30 p.m. and the couple headed for the Eastbank Esplanade for a view of the city.

The two men, who are Gay, were holding hands, said Jung.

As they neared the pathway down to the Esplanade, Forkner felt someone push him, knocking him against a railing. 'Then,' he said, 'fists.'

He pulled out a cell phone and called 911 as the attackers hit Rosevear a few more times, Forkner said. They then ran off.

According to Jung, Forkner said he couldn't tell what the attackers were saying. He didn't hear clearly anti-Gay epithets. 'They were yelling, I don't know what,' he said, adding that they may have been speaking another language. 'So much was happening and I couldn't catch onto what was happening.'

Police have asked anyone with information about the attack to contact Det. Kevin Warren at 503-823-3761.

They are investigating the case as a bias crime, said Jung, noting the lack of provocation by the two men.

The suspects are in their 20s and all about 5' 11', police said. One was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, another was wearing a white or cream hooded sweatshirt, and the third was wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt.

After the attack, Forkner said he and Rosevear went to the emergency room, where Rosevear received stitches.

He said he is bothered that there were people on the bridge and others biking by who witnessed the attack, which lasted for about a minute.

'I don't expect them to put themselves in danger,' Forkner told The Oregonian. But he was surprised that no one yelled 'Stop' or called the police on their behalf. 'I think it says something about a culture when people see something like that and don't say anything.'

Even afterwards, he said, as they walked away, bloodied and beaten up, they passed people walking their dogs. 'They could clearly see something had happened and no one stopped and said, 'Hey, are you OK?'

The Q Center, a nonprofit that supports the LGBT community, condemned the attack, noting a similar assault a year earlier.

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