News (USA)

Dallas neighborhood on “lock-down” after 14 antigay hate crimes

Dallas neighborhood on “lock-down” after 14 antigay hate crimes
A neighborhood in Dallas is still on police lock-down after fourteen violent hate crimes against gay men and several robberies were reported.

The city’s Oak Lawn gayborhood, which is home to over a dozen gay bars, has seen a frightening uptick in antigay bashings since September 2015.

The latest victim — a 54-year-year old man who hasn’t been named — was pushed, kicked, and called homophobic slurs while being attacked on in December.

According to Dallas police Assistant Chief Randall Blankenbaker, he was attacked around 10:30pm in the parking lot behind a gay bar called Round-Up Saloon. He was also robbed.

The suspects are described as two white men, each around six feet tall.

Police are calling the attack a hate crime.

Earlier in December, a woman was attacked by two African-American men in the same area. Police are uncertain if the attack is related to other incidents plaguing the area.

In November, Geoffrey Hubbard (pictured) became at least the twelfth victim in three months of an antigay hate crime when he was bashed him in the skull with a rock while walking to a friend’s house. He sustained a temporal bone fracture that required several stitches to his head.

Rally for Change, a local organization, has been demanding increased police presence and better protection in the area for months.

“Survivors have been beaten with bats, stabbed with box cutters, pistol whipped and pummeled with fists,” the organization said in a statement. “In several of these attacks, homophobic language has been used by the assailants.”

The statement continued:

“For weeks DPD has promised an increased presence in the neighborhood. When pushed on the fact that such an increase has been spotty and largely invisible, DPD has pointed to officer shortages and has now even suggested that the protection provided by our tax dollars is not enough and that we should pay for expanded patrols by off duty officers.”

In response to the most recent attack, the city is finally taking action. Oak Lawn has been put on “lock-down,” with police encouraging residents to be cautious and “take care of each other.”

Additionally, a group of “roughly a half dozen” officers have also been assigned to the area instead of patrolling a larger beat.

On Friday, Mayor Mike Rawlings also went door-to-door to help assure residents he is doing his best to address the issue and to let them know CrimeStoppers has increased its reward for information in the attacks from $5,000 to $10,000.

So far, there are still no leads yet on suspects in any of the assaults.

Hubbard, who is still recovering from his injuries, is encouraging people to be extremely cautious.

“I’m not saying avoid the streets and lock your doors,” he told WFAA-TV, “but don’t travel alone.”

h/t: Dallas Morning News

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