Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coventry England Police Plead For Public Assistance In Connection To Late December Anti-Gay Attack, Gay Couple Seek Police Assistance After Being Refused Service At East London Salon, Three Charged With Anti Gay Hate Crime Following Violent Attack In Illinois, 17-Year-Old Zoe Mandelski Behind Colorado Same Sex Marriage Ballot Proposal, David Beckham, Zayn Malik And Louis Tomlinson

In England, police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to talk to after a gay hate attack in Coventry city centre. Two friends were punched to the ground in the unprovoked assault in New Union Street. The attack happened on December 23 but detectives have only now released the image following initial inquiries. The victims had been standing outside Coventry Kebab House at about 1:00 am when a man approached them and made a number of homophobic comments. He then punched one of the victims, a 25-year-old man, in the face, and kicked him in the chest as he fell to the ground. The friend, a 26-year-old man, tried to intervene but he was also attacked and was also punched to the ground before being kicked in the chest. Three of the victims’ friends intervened and the offender fled. Investigating officer, PC Tony Sedgley, from Coventry Police, said, “This is being treated as a hate crime as the attacker made comments wrongly questioning the first victim’s sexuality before launching his assault. It was a vicious and unprovoked assault on two victims who were simply minding their own business after having had an enjoyable night out. What makes this all the more shocking is that it was seemingly purely motivated by speculation about the victim’s sexuality. Thankfully neither of the two men were left with lasting injuries as a result of the assault, but they have clearly been left shaken.” The offender is described as a dark-skinned man, in his mid 20s to early 30s, between 6ft and 6ft 2in, of broad build with a goatee style beard and short dark hair. Anyone with information about the assault, or who recognizes the man in the CCTV image, should call Coventry Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. As an alternative to reporting hate crimes directly to police, victims can report incidents anonymously online at www.report-it.org.uk.

Also in England, a couple are going to the police claiming that a beauty salon refused to treat them together because they are gay. Paul Creane, 44, and his civil partner Jhon Jairo Yepes Giraldo, 42, were bought a £180 treatment package by Creane’s sister as a Christmas present. Creane, who works as a supervisor for a construction company, attempted to book the treatment at Sapphire beauty salon in High Road, Woodford Green, North London. He said: “I called them and said I wanted to make an appointment for my partner and me. A woman at the salon said ‘What’s her name? I said ‘his’ name is Jhon? Is that a problem?’ She said ‘I will have to check. We don’t see men together.’ I was shocked. I said ‘Are you telling me you don’t treat homosexuals?’ She said ‘Yes.’ I said ‘You are breaking the law’ at which point she went off and checked again. She then came back and said she was just following company policy.” Creane demanded to talk to the manager and was passed to a woman called Cassie. He said: “I told her that I was appalled that her salon would not treat homosexuals, but she said I had got it wrong. So I said 'OK then, I would like to make an appointment’ but she just repeated the line that they did not treat men together.” Creane went to the salon to get his money back. He said: “I walked in and this woman asked me if I had an appointment. I said ‘No, I’m the homosexual who was trying to make an appointment.’ Her chin just hit the floor. She said to me ‘We have apologized to you, and you can come for a treatment, but not with your husband. Bring a female friend instead.” Creane has reported the matter to gay rights group Stonewall as well as Groupon, the company his sister bought the beauty treatment from. He added: “I will also be reporting the matter to the police. They have picked on the wrong gay man. It’s 2013 and you cannot act like this.” His partner Jhon, who works as a hairdresser, added, “I have spoken to so many friends about this and none of them can believe it. What did they think at this place? That we were going to come in and start having sex? I have never experienced anything like this.” The East London Guardian went to Sapphire and spoke to a woman who identified herself as Cassie, who said, “I am not willing to talk about this. Please leave the premises.”

In Illinois, three St. Charles residents have been charged with a hate crime in connection with a violent attack on a group of people while taunting two men in the group for being gay. Stephan C. Bolt, 31, of the 4N800 block of East Mary Lane; Christopher M. Miner, 30, of the 100 block of North 15th Street; and Susan V. Patton, 31, of the 6N200 block of Woodland Road, each are charged with two counts of felony hate crime. They also face two counts of aggravated battery and one count of mob action. Bolt and Miner were also charged with four counts of misdemeanor battery, while Patton faces six counts of that offense. Although police announced the charges Monday, the incident is alleged to have taken place in the early morning hours of January 6 in the 2000 block of Lincoln Highway (Route 38), reports the Chicago Tribune. The three were eventually arrested late last week, police said. None was immediately available for comment Tuesday morning. About 1:45 am, police were called to the scene outside a bar. Witnesses told police that shortly after the bar closed, Patton threw a drink in the face of a 26-year-old woman. That woman, who was with two male friends, then walked away and headed home, police said. As the group of three walked across a parking lot, a grey Mazda pulled up to them and stopped, witnesses reported. Patton got out of the car and again confronted the woman, police said. When the woman's two male friends stepped in front of her, Patton struck them, police said. Bolt and Miner then got out of the car and joined Patton in punching and kicking the two men, "while taunting them for being gay," police said. One of the men was able to call 911 on his cell phone, causing Patton, Bolt and Miner to get back in the car and drive away, police said. Police said a fourth person was also present during the incident and could face charges as the investigation continues. While Patton and Bolt are free from jail on $3,000 bond, Miner remains in custody. All are due in Kane County court next on February 15.

In Colorado, the Denver Post reports that a 17-year-old Gunnison High School student is behind a ballot proposal that would amend state's constitution to allow same sex couples to marry. Zofie Mandelski wants voters to decide the issue in 2014. She filed the proposal Monday with the nonpartisan Legislative Council, the first of many steps in getting an issue on the ballot. "I do personally support gay marriage, but my parents don't," Mandelski said, "but they are supporting me in this because they do think the issue should be voted on." The proposal reads: "Be it enacted by the voters of the State of Colorado: Article II Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Colorado is amended to read: A union of one man and one woman, one man and one man, and one woman and woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." Colorado voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that basically outlawed same sex couples from marrying. It passed approved 55-percent to 45-percent. The first hearing on the proposal by the Legislative Council staff is scheduled for February 11 at the Capitol. Carrie Earll with Citizen Link, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, said she's not surprised that something already has been filed allowing gays to marry. "This is their ultimate goal: to overturn the state marriage amendment one way or another," she said. But she questioned the seriousness of the ballot proposal and whether there is any force behind it. Earl noted something similar was filed for the last election, but later dropped by the organizers. One Colorado, the state's largest gay-rights organization, is not involved with the proposal, a spokesperson said. Mandelski said she is serious about the proposal, and that Colorado's amendment process is designed to "let everyone get their say even if they aren't part of a large organization." The process requires a second signature so Mandeleski asked a friend, Marley Wiggin, to sign on. But, Mandeleski said, it is her proposal. Currently, nine states, plus Washington, D.C., allow same sex couples to marry: Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Iowa, New York, Maryland, and Washington. A civil-unions bill winding its way through the legislature would allow same sex couples many but not all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. It is expected to be passed and become effective in May. Opponents of Senate Bill 9 argue it violates religious freedoms and the will of the people.

David Beckham spotted wandering the streets of London Wednesday.

One Direction’s Zayn Malik spotted with an injured right hand, the source of which remains a mystery. Malik was accompanied by a bulging Louis Tomlinson.

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