News (USA)

Store owner charged with filing false report after alleging anti-gay attack

Store owner charged with filing false report after alleging anti-gay attack

PARIS, Tenn. — The owner of a health food store in Tennessee, who said last month that he had been robbed and beaten in an anti-gay attack, has been arrested and charged with filing a false police report after he allegedly withheld information about the incident.

Healthy-ThymeJoe Williams, 32, owner of Healthy Thyme in Paris, Tenn., told police last month that he was beaten unconscious on Nov. 20 by three men who used anti-gay slurs before robbing him and writing “fag” across his forehead.

Williams told officers he was hit until he lost consciousness, and when he woke up, he said that he saw the men pouring gasoline near the front of the building.

He said his attackers got away with $1,200 and caused about $5,500 in damage.

But officers later found inconsistencies in Williams’ story. Paris Police Sgt. Ricky Watson said Williams failed to bring up certain facts known to investigators on three different occasions, reported the Paris Post-Intelligencer.

That leaves investigators trying to determine how much of Williams’ story might have been true.

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“We’ve not been able to verify or dispel any of the statements made about the actual robbery or fire,” Watson said. “We’re looking into Mister Williams, and we’re looking into whether it did or did not happen.”

At the time of the attack, Williams told police that a man had come to the business earlier that day and asked him about his sexual “preference.”

He said the man told him he could not shop at the store if he was homosexual.

Williams is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 7.

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