BALTIMORE, Md. — An openly gay East Baltimore resident who was severely beaten Christmas night told police investigators that he believed that he was attacked because he is gay.
Kenni Shaw, 30, told The Baltimore Sun that for him, the motive was clear — he said that that his dyed blond hair and his job as a cosmetologist and hairstylist, puts him at odds with the “ghetto-tough mentality” of other men in his neighborhood.
Shaw said he’s heard comments muttered by locals he doesn’t know, but recognizes, that they do not want “faggots living on the block.”
After a Christmas Eve celebration with family, Shaw had returned home nursing a cold. He’d popped into the liquor store about 9:00 pm just as five men were heading out, but didn’t pay them much attention. He chatted briefly with the clerk before leaving the store and heading home.
Outside, not far from the store, he was suddenly punched from behind, he said. For minutes on end, the punches kept falling, he said. One man had clearly initiated the attack, but the others joined in, he said. Shaw said he remained conscious, and could feel each blow. Finally, someone else came out of the store and his attackers left.
“It was so hard that I felt my lip and side face swell up immediately. I was trying to talk to these guys, but they weren’t letting me talk.” Instead, they were intent on beating him – out of hate – said Shaw, a 30-year-old gay man. “I was just beaten in my face. Nothing was taken. No words were exchanged before the incident,” he said.
“So to me, I think it was a hate crime.”
Shaw told police that he went home a few blocks away, called his mother, and although he had not dialed 911 for emergency services, police were at his door within minutes. He was transported to a nearby hospital and was treated for facial and head wounds. He is now recovering at his mother’s residence in neighboring Baltimore County.
Detective Jeremy Silbert, spokesperson for the Baltimore City Police Major Crimes Unit, said that investigators were investigating the assault and have “some good leads in the case but have not determined a motive.”