Alabama gay man severely beaten outside bar, but cops refuse to put anti-gay slurs in police report
A gay Alabama man said this week that police in Huntsville refused to include homophobic slurs in their police report after he was badly beaten outside of a bar.
Gary Bravo told AL.com that that he was leaving a downtown-area club on Friday when a group of men began harassing one of his female friends.
Bravo recalled hearing anti-gay slurs and then telling the men to leave his friend alone. He said that he remembered ducking a punch, “and then after that my memory goes blank.”
“I’m in a lot of pain, I don’t have full vision of my right eye yet,” he explained. “I have four broken bones in the right side of my face and multiple fractures. I have a fractured ankle.”
Bravo asserted that the officer who responded to the call has purposefully omitted claims that his attackers used anti-gay slurs.
“You’re an officer of the law, you should not object to putting something in a report. Everything should be taken down,” he insisted. “It should not be ignored just because I’m a gay man and you might not want to believe it.”
Huntsville Police Department spokesperson Lt. Darryl Lawson had said over the weekend that Bravo “did not report this to Huntsville Police as a hate crime, nor did he make mention of it at the time he filed the report.”
On Tuesday, Lawson conceded that Bravo may have told officers about the slurs, but said that officers did not have to include that information in the report.
“We won’t necessarily put in (the report) he said this, she said that,” Lawson remarked.
And even if the report had included evidence that Bravo had been attacked for being a gay man, Lawson pointed out that Alabama’s hate crimes law did not include sexual orientation as a protected class.
“It would still be an assault-second charge,” he said. “The only time the hate crime law comes into play is as an enhancement to whatever the sentencing is.”
For his part, Bravo said that he was not hopeful that justice would be done.
“Honestly, I think they’re going to try to sweep it under the carpet,” he lamented. “Because they are trying to say I said it wasn’t a hate crime but when they interviewed me and spoke with me at 3-something in the morning, I was not coherent.”
“When you use the word ‘faggot’ and a few other choice words that are not appropriate for all ages, you know it’s directed to you. It’s not just a normal fight.”
The Free2Be Safe Anti-Violence Project is accepting donations to help Bravo cover living expenses while he is not able to work. The organization said earlier this week that it had raised $1,100 so far.
Watch the video below from Al.com.