Man receives community service in hate crime case
by Seth Hemmelgarn
A man who pleaded guilty to a hate crime after punching a gay man in San Francisco late last year was sentenced Friday, February 27.
Under a plea agreement reached in San Francisco Superior Court in January, Andrew Duhamel, 29, will be placed on formal probation for four years. As conditions of probation, in addition to a stay away order from the victim, Jerry Deal, 32, and payment of full restitution to him, Duhamel was ordered to pay $1,000 to Community United Against Violence. He was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service or serve four months in county jail.
Deal said the incident started just before midnight on November 23 near Union Square. Duhamel, another male, and two females walked by, and after he referred to Deal and his friends as "stupid faggots," Duhamel hit him across the face. Duhamel and the three people with him ran off, Deal said. Deal then chased after them.
Eventually, Deal lost site of Duhamel and the other three but soon spotted them inside a parking garage.
Deal said when he ran in front of the garage, "all four of them came after me" and the man who was with Duhamel "grabbed me and cornered me and pushed me into a doorway," pinning him against a wall.
Deal, who was on the phone with a 911 operator throughout much of the incident, has listened to a 911 tape and said Duhamel or the other man can be heard on the tape saying, "Today's the day you're gonna die, fag." The Bay Area Reporter has not heard the 911 tape.
The man who had been with Duhamel was detained for public drunkenness, but Deal declined to press charges against him. San Francisco Police Inspector Mike Morley would not name the man since he wasn't charged with anything. In his victim statement, Deal indicated he was Miguel Silva.
Duhamel was in custody for about a day. He was then released on $38,000 bail. He pleaded guilty in January to one felony count of hate crime threats and a felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Deal told the B.A.R. in January that he asked for Duhamel to receive community service rather than go to jail because jail is "not where people get rehabilitated."
Duhamel appeared in court last week for his sentencing, but declined to comment to the B.A.R.
Duhamel has had previous run-ins with the law, according to San Francisco police and Santa Clara County court documents, including a July 26, 2005 conviction related to driving under the influence of alcohol. In that case, he was ordered to serve five years of court probation, among other penalties, according to a deputy clerk at Calaveras County Superior Court.
In a statement Deal said he submitted with the court last week, he said, "Traumatized, fearful, and defensive is how I live my day-to-day life since I was attacked ..."
Deal said in the statement that after living in many other cities, "I came to San Francisco for its openness and welcoming of all walks of life," but that Duhamel and the people who were with him that night in November "have all damaged my community, family, and my life. The idea that [their] behavior exists in San Francisco exemplifies the fact that my work is not over by trying to make the world a better place for all."