Portland Man Claims He Was Beaten For Being Gay
Friday, December 12, 2014
The rates of reported hate crimes may be declining nationally, according to the most recent FBI statistics; but crimes motivated by prejudice still occur, even in Portland.
A professional waiter at a downtown restaurant, Lee Haywood, 44, claims he was physically attacked on the evening of Friday Dec. 5, in downtown Portland by two of his coworkers. Haywood suffered a sprained ankle, soft-tissue injuries to both of his legs and bruises. Although he suffered no broken bones, Haywood claimed he'd been unable to walk since the attack allegedly took place.
"It was full-on pack mentality,” Haywood said. “They were out for blood."
Portland police had an open investigation into the incident as a bias-based crime, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson. No other details from police were available.
The two men allegedly jumped Haywood as he was walking to his car after work, knocking him to the ground and continuing to kick him in the head, chest and legs and kidneys, Haywood claimed.
The attackers, whom Haywood claimed to recognize as his coworkers, allegedly yelled anti-gay slurs as they fled the scene on foot.
Haywood said he had never been attacked for his sexual orientation before.
Although he said he enjoys his job at Swank & Swine and typically gets along well with his peers, Haywood said the issue may have began brewing several months ago when a member of the kitchen staff began calling him “maricón-” a Spanish pejorative term for a gay man.
While at work Dec. 5, Haywood said he verbally confronted his coworker in the kitchen and demanded that he stop harassing him.
"I'm 44 years old - I've been called a 'faggot' my whole life; it's not something I want to create some drama around," Haywood said.
It was the first time, however, that verbal abuse had escalated into violence. The attack allegedly took place later that evening. Haywood said the incident shocked him.
"It was just so violent," Haywood said.
The coworker whom Haywood confronted, and later accused of attacking him, denied any involvement in the attack, but did say that he had "heard something happened," that night.
Haywood said he could be out from work for up to four to six weeks while he recovers from his injuries, according to his doctor.
No charges have been filed in the case.
Related Slideshow: Top 10 Oregon Cities for Hate Crimes
Every year, the FBI releases hate crime statistics from around the state. Check out what the worst towns for hate crimes were in 2013.