Gay Man Assaulted in the Castro

  • by Sari Staver
  • Saturday October 14, 2017
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Gary McCoy, an advocate for people who are homeless and for people living with HIV, was assaulted in the Castro Sunday morning, October 8.

McCoy, a gay man who was recently appointed to Governor Jerry Brown's statewide Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council, was attacked at 8:20 a.m. at Castro and Market streets, he told the Bay Area Reporter in an interview later that day.

As he walked along the street near Jane Warner Plaza, McCoy said a man struck him in the face with a closed fist, breaking his glasses and "really shaking me up," he said.

A call to 911 brought police "in less than two minutes," and they arrested the man across the street at Harvey Milk Plaza, said McCoy, 39.

San Francisco Police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca confirmed the incident, telling the B.A.R. in a telephone interview that the suspect, Leslie Bailey, 32, was booked on two felony counts of vandalism and battery. Bailey, who did not give an address, was out on bail at the time of his arrest and is now in jail, awaiting his court appearance, said Rueca.

"This man is clearly someone that has many challenges, including unmet mental health needs," McCoy said in an email to the B.A.R., "and points to the need for programs to provide such services."

McCoy said he appreciated the quick response by police. He said he also received a call from gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy "almost immediately after the incident."

"We had a great discussion on the work his office has been doing - including increased beat cops in the neighborhood," McCoy said. "I know most of the folks that hang around in the Castro, and have a great relationship with them - this was not one of them, and the incident caught me completely off guard."

In an email to the B.A.R., Sheehy said he was "very concerned about what happened" to McCoy.

"No one should be assaulted in the Castro," Sheehy wrote. "I am actively working with Captain [Bill] Griffin and we now have foot patrols in the Castro but I will continue to work to make the neighborhood safer. We need to recognize that we need to grow the police force to increase public safety."

McCoy said that at first, responding police officers said the suspect would be cited and released. But when they learned he had violated his parole, and that McCoy's glasses cost over $500, the charges were upped to felonies, and he would not be released.

"I was glad he was not back on the street," said McCoy.

McCoy is a policy and community affairs manager with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

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