A Seattle actor and performance artist who was one of the first victims to report an assault in what grew into a summer wave of reported hate crimes around Capitol Hill has said he was attacked again early Saturday morning. Seattle Gay Scene has a few details on the attack on Robbie Turner — and is calling for change:
Popular local drag performer Robbie Turner was attacked at 2 am this morning walking home from a gig. Robbie, well aware of the rising problems with street crime, allegedly contacted the Uber car service but the driver refused to pick up a performer in drag. Robbie walked home and was attacked. It it the second time this year that Robbie was the victim of street crime.
Despite the frequent reports of such crimes, not much seems to have been done to fight such crime. There’s a local campaign, but other than a march and an urge for people to “be careful” there’s not much being done to actually DO something about the issue. The city, the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Central Community College seem to be ignoring the problem.
It’s time to DO something. In an effort to actually get things in motion to correct these problems, I wrote this letter and sent it off to various LGBTQ Capitol Hill leaders, or, at least the ones I have email addresses for. You need to see it, too. We all need to DO something.
We’re checking in on the time and location of the attack and are reviewing available details of the few assaults included in the night’s East Precinct dispatches. We’ll also ask Uber about its policy regarding driver discretion to refuse passengers. UPDATE: Via Twitter, from Uber: “We’re in contact with the rider but was told that the driver picked up the wrong person. Currently investigating.” CHS also talked to a company representative who said that drivers do have discretion to refuse a customer but only for issues such as safety concerns. The Uber rep said they’re working to sort out why Turner seems to have been turned away from the service. UPDATE x2: Seattle Gay Scene clarifies the Uber element of the story: “The information I’ve received is that Robbie did call Uber and Uber came to pick up Robbie but SOMEONE ELSE SNAGGED THE UBER! In other words, the Uber pulls up to someone and the driver probably asks “Robbie?” and that person said “Yes!” and snagged a free ride home. ”
UPDATE x3 — Sunday, 9/15/2013 – 10:40 AM: Seattle Gay Scene has sent CHS an account of the incident reportedly posted to Turner’s personal Facebook page that we’ll try to verify before posting more details. The account describes a very brief but still hurtful assault involving a stranger slapping Turner outside of Purr on 11th Ave as the performer, still in drag, waited for a car service pick-up. Turner’s account also says he doesn’t blame Uber for the incident and plans to continue using the service. “This wasn’t a hate crime and people are exaggerating the actual facts which is not helpful,” the Turner Facebook update provided to us by Seattle Gay Scene reads. “It is not ok for people to hit someone ever, but it is also not ok to falsify information that you are not privy too.”
The report comes following a May street robbery in which Turner said he was held up near Seattle Central and attacked by an assailant with a knife as onlookers reportedly did not act to intervene.
Recent assaults and reported hate crimes against gay men around the Hill have prompted many to call for a stronger police presence while community efforts have included rallies and marches. Meanwhile, with a debate over public safety becoming a larger part of the 2013 mayor’s race, CHS documented the steady pace of assaults and rise in street robberies on Capitol Hill so far this year.