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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 23, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 38
Man charged with hate crime in Pike Street assault
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Man charged with hate crime in Pike Street assault

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

On September 21, King County prosecutors filed charges of malicious harassment and assault against a Seattle man who is accused of punching another man while yelling anti-Gay slurs.

According to the police investigation filed by Detective Moore, Raven Lang Brealan punched Michael Mackay, threatened him with a knife, and struck him in the face with a street sign.

The alleged assault took place at 12:32 a.m. on September 17 at 1013 E. Pike Street.

Charging documents filed by King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg say that Brealan acted 'maliciously and intentionally and because of his perception of the gender and sexual orientation of Michael Mackay.'

According to Moore's report, Mackay and another man, identified as 'McNeill,' were walking down Pike Street when Brealan started yelling anti-Gay slurs.

'McNeill told [Brealan] he is on Capitol Hill and to stop with the anti-homosexual sentiments,' the report says. Then, the report continues, Brealan punched Mackay. Mackay called 911 for help, and attempted to follow Brealan. Brealan then threatened him with a knife and threw a no-parking sign at him, hitting him in the face.

Mackay was treated by medics at the scene, and declined to be taken to a hospital.

Up to this point, the story sounds like one of many similar hate crimes. After Brealan was arrested and tried to explain himself to police, the story takes an interesting turn, however.

According to Moore's report, 'The suspect told the officer he struck the victim because when he was flirting with the victim earlier in the evening he found out the victim had a penis. According to the suspect he was very upset to find out the person he thought was a woman was a man.'

Moore's report does not indicate why Brealan would have mistaken Mackay for a woman. It never says, for example, that Mackay presented as a woman, and in both the police report and the prosecutor's charging documents, Mackay is referred to with masculine pronouns - 'he, his, him.'

Nor does Moore's report indicate where or under what circumstances Brealan was 'flirting' with Mackay.

The original police report by arresting officer Matthew J. Blackburn sheds no additional light on the situation. According to Blackburn, Brealan was almost incoherent at the scene of his arrest.

'He repeatedly told me he was not 'a faggot,' Blackburn writes in his report.

'He told me that homosexuals 'put dicks in butts,' and told me that he didn't do that. [Brealan] became so upset, spitting and yelling homosexual slurs, that I was unable to learn what happened at the listed location.'

The police report does not state whether Brealan's perception was impaired by alcohol or other substances, but he was not charged with any alcohol- or drug-related offenses. The prosecutor's charging documents do note that he has prior convictions for a 'liquor violation' and driving under the influence.

Police spokesperson Lt. Renee Witt declined to comment on the details of the case when contacted by SGN.

'It's been referred to the bias crimes coordinator and it's still under investigation,' Witt said. 'I can't comment on the identity of the victim, because that's not our policy.'

Asked why Brealan would have mistaken Mackay for a woman, Witt replied, 'That's part of the larger investigation, and that's why I can't say anything more on that.'

Brealan is being held in King County Jail pending arraignment on October 5.

The prosecutor's charging documents ask that Brealan be held without bail because he has a 'lengthy criminal history which is multi-county in nature,' including convictions for theft, taking a motor vehicle, robbery, escape, assault, and burglary, besides the alcohol-related charges.

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