The Daily Iowan

Iowa City man alleges assault, gay slurs

EDDIE KIRSCH

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A gay man said another man yelled a gay slur at him and assaulted him last week in Iowa City.

Iowa City Police are investigating the alleged assault, reported to have occurred in an alley between the 100 block of East College and East Burlington Streets on June 11.

The alleged victim told police he was confronted by an African-American male who struck him in the face. The man told police he then fell back against the wall, sustaining cuts to his face, knee and ankle.

The release said the area of the incident was checked by officers along with the victim, but the suspect was not located. Police said the alleged victim declined medical assistance.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, the alleged victim said he was walking along Clinton when greeted by a stranger walking the opposite way.

The alleged victim, who has requested anonymity due to a fear for his safety, recalled the stranger called him a “f*cking faggot.” The alleged victim, who said he is an openly gay man, said he dismissed the comment and turned toward the direction he was headed. Then the assailant reportedly punched the man in the eye, threw him into a brick wall, and kicked him several times.

The 30-year-old UI graduate student said he suffered a severe concussion, a shattered knee, a broken hand, and three fractured ribs, among other injuries.

Adam Lewis, friend of the victim and former graduate assistant manager of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center at the University of Iowa, said this was the second friend of his who has been beaten and sent to the hospital.

“Working [at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center], I knew about one other incident,” said Lewis. “I’ve never felt too concerned walking around downtown.”

Karla Miller, Executive Director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, said there may be a pattern in violent incidents like these.

“It becomes a kind of twisted form of recreation,” said Miller. “Very often alcohol is involved.”

The alleged victim said he did not believe that his behavior at the time he encountered his assailant was indicative of his sexual orientation.

Nonetheless, Miller said some people still have a violent attitude towards gay and lesbian individuals.

“The vernacular is, ‘Hey let’s go beat up some queers,’ ” Miller said.

In an e-mail sent to faculty and graduate students, the alleged victim tied the incident to a controversial College Republicans event last semester.

“Words like ‘Republican Coming Out’ are not a joke for the queer community — they trivialize real and often traumatic problems,” he wrote. “Even though I am in agonizing pain, I hope in a few weeks I can turn this into a positive, educational experience of some sort. I’d hate to let the attacker feel like he won.”

After the assault, the alleged victim said a passerby helped him contact the police. Within a few minutes, Iowa City officers responded.

“The police were incredibly helpful. The officer that responded was very concerned about my safety and well-being. He called some other officers to alert them about the situation,” he said. “He gave me a hug. That was above and beyond.”

A press release from the police department described the suspect as a 6-foot to 6-foot-2-inch African American male. Iowa City Crimestoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of this suspect.

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