A Hate Crime? Pocatello attack victims speak out

pocatello

The two victims who were attacked last weekend in Pocatello are speaking out about the incident. The men were walking home, after a night at Club Charleys, Pocatello’s only gay nightclub, when the attack occurred.

According to the Idaho State Journal, the victims, who identity as gay, were walking to the home of one of the victims along Ninth Avenue, when a car pulled up along side them. The driver of a vehicle, described by one of the victims as a “a light-colored two-door car,” yelled at them to “get off the street.” One of the victims says yelled back that they would.

The driver stopped and got out of the car anyway. The male attacker, described as a being six-feet-tall, muscular and wearing no shirt, started punching the two victims.

The two men, who wish to remain anonymous, say they have little recollection of the attack. A near-by resident, who came out of his house to investigate all the noise, apparently scared off the assailant.

Neither victim went to the hospital that evening, nor did they immediately report the crime to police.

According to the Idaho State Journal,”The next morning after one of the men had returned to Idaho Falls, the other realized the injuries to his face were severe and he had a friend drive him to the emergency room at Portneuf Medical Center. CT scans at the hospital revealed multiple fractures to his cheeks and eye sockets,” the paper reports.

A friend of the victims, who was with the pair when they left Club Charleys, tells the Journal that he suspects the attack may have been motivated by hate. For now, though, the Bannock County Prosecutor is handling the case as a “felony aggravated battery charge.”

The friend, a local businessman, tells the paper that this is the THIRD  recent attack against members of the gay community, “About a month ago, a gay man was beat up seriously in front of Jack in the Box at Center and Fourth,” he tells the paper. He says an FBI agent investigating potential hate crimes in Pocatello recently, “mentioned an assault on two lesbian women outside a bar several months ago.”

Idaho has no specific hate crimes laws involving a person’s sexuality. Idaho Police say that while there are federal laws on the books, because of the lack of any state hate crime or discrimination laws, often  prosecutors hands are tied.

Experts say that gay victims often fail to report the incident out of fear of retribution.

Idaho also doesn’t have any statewide protections for LGBT community members, another factor that can keep victims from reporting a crime.  Those working with the community point out that when a person can be fired from their job or lose their housing for being gay or lesbian, “they probably aren’t going to pick up the phone to report a hate crime.”

If you know anything about any thing about the attack you are urged to call the Pocatello Police Department. You can also contact the Idaho State Police Department, as well as the regional office of the FBI, with any questions or concerns you might have regarding filing a hate crime report:

FBI Salt Lake City
Suite 1200, 257 Towers Bldg.
257 East, 200 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-2048
saltlakecity.fbi.gov
(801) 579-1400

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Breaking: Two attacked near gay bar in Pocatello

charlies

Two men are recovering from an attack that occurred at around 2:30 Sunday morning, just blocks from Club Charleys in Pocatello. Details surrounding the incident are still scarce, but the Idaho Agenda has confirmed that the two men had been at the bar at some point, either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. They were within a five block radius of the bar when  the attack occurred. Club Charleys, Pocatello’s only gay night club, is located at 331 E Center St. in the heart of the downtown area.

It’s not yet known if the suspect knew the two men, but we can report that the attacker remained at large as of late Tuesday evening. The victims were both taken to a local hospital.

While it’s not yet clear if the incident was a bias related hate crime, because the suspect is still on the loose, those traveling in the area should remember to be careful at night. Travel in groups and remember to keep your cell phone handy just in case, especially when walking.

If you have any information about the incident, you’re urged to call Pocatello Police at 234-6100.

We expect to have more details on this incident sometime tomorrow.

Motivated by Hate: Eastern Idaho Attack Victim Speaks Out

The victim of Saturday night’s attack outside of Club Charleys, a popular night club  in Pocatello catering to the LGBT community, is starting to talk about it.

The victim, who chose to remain anonymous, tells The Bannock Alternative that the attack happened as he was leaving the bar after a night of dancing.

“A few guys were outside, calling him a “fag” and a “queer,” but he said he didn’t respond. A friend of his came to his defense, which led to one of the men running into him. It wasn’t that a big of a deal, he said, but when he got to his car he realized he dropped his ID back by the bar. When he went back to get it, he was jumped,” reports the paper.

The victim says he suffered,”a badly-bruised upper cheekbone, a bruised jawbone and some bruising to his stomach and chest.”

On Tuesday he told the Idaho Agenda that he was struggling with going public about the attack for fear of what his family and friends might go through.

A police report regarding the incident has been filed and police are working to identify the attackers.

Currently Idaho does not have any specific LGBT hate crimes law on its books and in order for the federal hate crimes act to kick in the crime has to “impede the movement of members of targeted groups and force them to move across state lines to escape the incidence or risk or prevent victims from purchasing goods and services or cross state lines in some way or be committed on an interstate highway.”

Still, the victim is to be applauded.

Following a rash of hate motivated crimes in Boise last fall, those helping to educate the community said the most courageous step a victim can take is to report the incidents to the authorities.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of protections under Idaho’s current  human rights law, a victim will often times not got the police out of fear of “outing” themselves or putting their jobs and or housing situation in jeopardy.

An attack like Saturday’s can also leave a group feeling vulnerable and afraid, “That’s what a hate crime does. It makes a whole community live in fear, It sends a message to those targeted that we are coming after you.” explained Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour last fall.

It can also make a community stronger.

In this case,  those close to the incident say the response has been nothing short of amazing, “I am just so overwhelmed from the positive responses I have been receiving it brings me to tears,’ the victim wrote to the Agenda on Tuesday.

Gina Lee, a close friend of the victim’s family, set up a reward fund for any information leading to the arrest of the attackers.  The Bannock Alternative reports that fund, as of Wednesday, had grown to more than $900.00.

If you were in the area on Saturday night and saw anything or if you know anything about the attackers, you can contact the Pocatello Police Department or message your tips to the Pocatello Pride via its Facebook page.

If you would like to donate to the reward fund you can do so by messaging DjGina Lee HERE. 

Click HERE to learn more about amending Idaho’s human rights act to make sure that ALL of its citizens feel safe to report crimes such as this one.

Update: Reward Grows For Information on Attack Outside Pocatello Nightclub

The reward for information leading to the arrests of the persons responsible for an attack outside of  Club Charleys on Saturday night has risen to 650 dollars.

“Support from Idaho’s LGBTQIA community has been overwhelming,” one individual close to the victim told the Idaho Agenda.

The victim, who is asking for privacy at this time, says there was some punches thrown during the attack, though no one was kicked as was reported in a comment on Facebook.

Those close to the situation say they believe the attack may be a possible hate crime. One poster wrote, “3 guys were calling him a faggot while they beat him down.”

Pocatello Pride  made the news public Sunday evening via a Facebook post:” One of our boys got beat up last night. If you know one of the small-minded individuals who did this, please have the courage to come forward. These people beat up someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s uncle, someone’s friend and someone’s lover. Please message me with any information and I will pass it along.”

Club Charleys is Southeast Idaho’s only club catering to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

If you were in the area on Saturday night and saw anything or if you know anything about the attackers, you can contact the Pocatello Police Department or message your tips to the Pocatello Pride via its Facebook page.

If you would like to donate to the reward fund you can do so by messaging DjGina Lee HERE. 

Reports: Man Attacked Outside of Gay Nightclub in Pocatello

Editor’s note: There’s an update on the story HERE.

The details are still few but there are reports that a man was attacked outside of  Club Charleys on Saturday night. Pocatello Pride, a page set up for pride events in Eastern Idaho, made the news public Sunday evening via a Facebook post:

“One of our boys got beat up last night. If you know one of the small-minded individuals who did this, please have the courage to come forward. These people beat up someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s uncle, someone’s friend and someone’s lover. Please message me with any information and I will pass it along. The reward is now up to $300.00 by donations.”

Those close to the situation say they believe the attack may be a possible hate crime.

One of the individuals raising money for the victim posted,”I believe it was them yelling ‘faggot’ as they were punching him that made us think it was a hate crime…”

Another described the attack as, “3 guys were calling him a faggot while they beat him down.”

Club Charleys is Southeast Idaho’s only club catering to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

The victim is recuperating from the attack. He was unavailable Sunday night for comment.

You can make a donation to help him through Facebook by messaging DjGina Lee HERE. 

More details are expected soon.

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