Gay men assaulted near Dem confab
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San Francisco police have arrested a man in connection with an alleged attack on two gay men who were in the city last weekend for the California Democratic Party convention.
The victims, ages 21 and 23, told police they had been struck in the face by a male suspect who had used homophobic slurs immediately prior to the attack, which took place Sunday, June 2, at 12:50 a.m. outside Southside Spirit House, 575 Howard Street.
Griffin Murray, 27, of San Francisco, was located by police a few blocks away from the incident. Murray was cited and released on two counts of misdemeanor battery, according to the San Francisco Police Department.
The Bay Area Reporter spoke with one of the victims on Tuesday, who asked that he not be identified in the paper. Speaking briefly by phone, he confirmed SFPD's description of the event and described his injuries including a concussion and the lasting emotional impact of battery.
"I'm just trying to recover," the victim, who had been hospitalized, said. "I am still traumatized."
The other victim reportedly suffered minor injuries, according to police.
The incident took place following the Saturday night session of the state Democratic Party's convention at nearby Moscone Center. Both victims were in town to attend the convention.
The timing of the incident prompted alarmed responses from party officials and local public figures who were concerned by homophobic violence in a city known as a haven for the LGBTQ community.
Newly-elected California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks weighed in on the attack as one of his first official statements in the position.
"I join the CDP LGBTQ Caucus and Democrats everywhere in strongly condemning the violent attack on two Democratic LGBTQ activists in San Francisco on Saturday," he said in a statement. "Violence motivated by hate and homophobia is particularly repulsive, and we must all speak out for safer communities and stand with the survivors today."
David Campos, a gay man and chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, denounced the incident in a Facebook post.
"Any hate crime is unacceptable. That it would happen in San Francisco is heartbreaking and infuriating," Campos, a former city supervisor, wrote. "San Francisco has a long history of embracing the LGBTQ community and has zero tolerance for any homophobic, transphobic, or racist act. Unfortunately, hate still exists in our society, especially in these times, and even here in progressive San Francisco.
"My heart goes out to the victims and I call upon the San Francisco Police Department and our district attorney to conduct a full and swift investigation treating this as what it is, a hate crime," Campos added. "That this would happen after a Democratic Party event, here in San Francisco of all places, reminds all that we have much work to do. We must stand together against hatred and violence."
The B.A.R. attempted to contact the suspect, but the only Griffin Murray fitting the description of the suspect who lives in San Francisco stated by phone that he was not the same individual involved in the incident.
The San Francisco Special Investigations Division, which oversees hate crime investigations, was assigned this case. SID investigators will be conferring with the San Francisco District Attorney's office on the matter, according to police.
As of publication, there was no court date scheduled for Murray. Neither SID nor the San Francisco District Attorney's office responded to requests for comment.