There’s been another alleged hate crime as of late, this time in Warren County, Ohio. This one hits close to home again because it occurred in my hometown, down the street from where I worked when I was in high school. I even went to high school with one of the people interviewed on Channel 12′s coverage of the crime. There is no national hate crimes legislation for LGBTQ people and there isn’t any for Ohio. This is why the passage of the Matthew Shepherd Act is so important.
From Queer Cincinnati:
“Warren County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a disturbing attack that left a young man bloodied, his nose shattered. Investigators want to know if it is a hate crime. The victim is gay.
“The assault happened at a Maineville bar. Local 12 reporter Shawn Ley shows us why this investigation is far from over.
“Ronnie Robertson’s nose is broken, he has deep cuts and scratches around his eyes and cheeks. The 31-year-old Mainville man is openly gay, his friends saying he’s regretting not going to a gay bar Tuesday night.
“Victim’s friend: ‘The guy that was assaulted had said, that’s the reason they made gay bars because it’s a safer place, a safer environment to hang out.’
“The Warren County Sheriff’s Office says Robertson received these injuries at Tabby’s American Bar and Grill on Montgomery Road in Mainville, and a criminal investigation is underway, looking for everyone involved in the attack. Two women were arrested on the spot: Sarah Goldsberry, and Tammy Lingle. They are charged with felony assault, and disrupting police business.
“Robertson’s sister says there was no bar fight. She says her brother was attacked because of his sexual orientation.
“Kelly Coffey, the victim’s sister said: ‘I believe it was a hate crime, completely. because that’s the only thing targeted that night, when someone stepped up and said, yes, I’m gay … All night it was provoked, all night it was asked and I believe that’s what it was.’
“Kelly Coffey says her friends, a mix of gay and straight people chose Tabby’s to play sand volleyball – but were harassed by a man who continued to ask who in the group was gay and who wasn’t & her brother finally answered. ‘When he admitted that he was, they lost it, went crazy and started attacking my brother and pushing him out of the bar.’
“So what does Tabby’s owner have to say? We stopped in and was told no manager was there. We called five times Thursday night and still couldn’t reach the owner. We do know the sheriff’s office is going over the security camera tape to look at what happened and for the two other men involved.
“Ohio’s hate crime laws do not include gays and lesbians as a protected class. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office says the gay bashing element of the case is in play. Other cases in Ohio have fit the statute for charges of ethnic intimidation.”