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Drag performer says attacked on Capitol Hill… again — UPDATE

Turner posted this image to Instagram Saturday with the message "Alive & grateful."

Turner posted this image to Instagram Saturday with the message “Alive & grateful.”

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 Turnerand 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.

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36 thoughts on “Drag performer says attacked on Capitol Hill… again — UPDATE” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Call a cab! No wait, I haven’t been able to get a cab to pick me up on Capitol Hill for months. I’ve waited as long as two hours for a cab that never came. I’ve altered my entire life to never be out after 10pm because of the cab situation on the Hill. Cab drivers have the nerve to complain too!

    • Hmm, I don’t seem to have a problem with cabs.

      Consider signing up for Uber if this is really a problem for you. Uber cars generally get to me in 5-10 minutes.

    • I’ve also never had problems with cabs, either calling them, or hailing them them on the street (the one upshot of all the increased nightlife in cap hill is that there are often cabs swarming around looking for fares).

    • From the May article:
      “If you are anywhere in this city, and you see somebody punch someone and pull out a knife to rob someone of their phone, you should at a mimumum start yelling and if you can, get others with you to go and protect the person being attacked. At least make some sound! Our very own Robbie Turner had this happen to him today near SCCC and NO ONE came to his rescue. The scene was shamefully silent. A phone can be replaced, a black eye will heal, but a community where people don’t stand up for one another needs a heart transplant. ”

      To answer your question: YES! And you’re heartless if you wouldn’t. I wouldn’t expect a bystander to walk up and take the knife out of the robbers hand, but with so many people standing by they should at least pull out their iPhones, start taking videos to turn over to cops, yell, THROW ROCKS AT THE PERSON, anything that they could safely do while still helping the person being robbed. I’m sure if you were being robbed at knife point while people just watched, you would want someone to at least yell?

      • Andrew, I hope you’re not suggesting that a bystander/witness should pull out a gun and start shooting. That approach is very dangerous and would often result in innocent people being shot or even murdered.

        Of course I agree that bystanders should take action, such as calling 911, but to intervene directly with a perp who has a gun or knife is not the way to go.

    • How about bystanders call 911 to report a violent crime in progress? Its appalling that Capitol Hill seems to lack even this much concern person to person.

  2. Wait, the CHS analysis said that assaults have been steady (311 last year and 310 this year), not that there was a “rise in assaults… on Capitol Hill so far this year,” as this post states. It looks like robberies are up (21 more this year), but not assaults. Is there something missing here?

    • sometimes, walking a short distance by yourself is unavoidable unless the person you are walking with lives in the same building or right next door. And walking at 2am or 3am is pretty standard for bar/restaurant workers who get off shift or done with performances in the wee hours of the morning.

  3. Thanks for posting this Justin but to clarify, the Uber driver did NOT refuse to pick up Robbie. Apparently, someone snagged the ride away from Robbie. Uber is NOT at fault.
    I clarified that situation in another post and updated the original post you quote above.

    Uber is not the issue here. Rising street violence on the Hill IS the issue and a practical solution to resolve it involving ALL members of the community.

  4. All the people suggesting that a gun would have somehow improved this situation are seriously confused. A gun would have added a death to the situation and even horrible homophobic robbers don’t deserve to die at the hands of a wanna-be cop vigilante with a gun.
    What we need is a revival of the Q-Patrol. If the cops don’t want to deal with this situation then we need concerned and trained citizens who know how to defuse a situation without escalating it.

    • A gun would have added a death? Really? What’s your experience with firearms? Can you imagine a situation where a firearm is drawn and a situation is de-escalated without firing a shot? If not, then do an internet search for a West Allis man who stops a sexual assault with his concealed firearm. This happens all the time. You can find many stories such as the West Allis one, but it happens to be one of my favorite examples. Rounds don’t need to be fired to resolve a situation with a firearm. And I would add that if a firearm is drawn and an assailant continues the assault, then I believe that the assailant does deserve the consequences.

      People can choose to exercise their rights and defend themselves, or do as this victim does and continue to suffer multiple personal assaults.

      • Self-defense is vigilantism? With people like you espousing this kind of prevalence toward victimhood, and actually claiming that people who take steps to defend themselves are, in fact, the problem, is it any wonder why more people don’t step up to help others in need out? They aren’t even allowed to help themselves in your ideal society…

      • Actually, it’s not vigilantism. That would be actively patrolling an area looking for perpetrators. What I advocate is self-defense. There is nothing wrong with that. I also noticed that you lack any ideas. You just don’t like mine, even though you can’t articulate any specific reason beyond applying a vague and incorrect label to my solution.

        And what’s dangerous about it? Did you even read my original post? If this victim had carried a concealed firearm and drawn it, most likely the assailants would have retreated and left the scene with no shots fired.

      • It certainly is vigilantism when a third party to the assault steps into the incident with a gun and assumes the role of the police. And, yes, it is dangerous….because the perp might have a gun (or knife), greatly increasing the possibility that someone will be injured or killed. If you want to lay yourself open to this, be my guest, but if anyone else is shot their blood is on your hands.

        “Self” defense is just what it says…the victim defends against the perp….not some random bystander. And there is obviously nothing wrong about that, although often there is a “gray area” as in the Trayvon Martin case.

        My solution? Call 911. Help the victim after the perp has fled.

  5. The lack of bystanders calling 911 or at the very minimum checking to see if someone is OK on Capitol Hill is appalling and speaks to a self absorbed and ignorant side of hipsters. Or is it just the Strangers anti police message bearing fruit? Making a community safer needs to involve that community and communities have to take that up. The Stranger may argue that roaming troublemakers and anti social behavior has no connection to crime but if people see that all around them and don’t appreciate what it does to a neighborhood that is a valid reaction. The police are doing more than city leadership but they can’t magically solve it all, especially working under a segment of opinion on the Hill that views all policing as negative. Did Turner even report this to the police?

  6. First the crime waves in Pioneer Square and Belltown, now the Hill. It seems the Hill will have the same fate. I can’t blame people who say they’ve had enough of it and are moving out.

  7. Do we know that there were bystanders? I don’t because I’m in bed at 2 am.

    Also, I know I’m generalizing here, but why would we trust many of the bystanders that may have been out at 2 am to be sober or willing enough to help someone out?

    There are great people in this neighborhood that would have helped had it been a time of the day they where actually awake and about.

    • Is Robbie not a person? Is the guy who slapped him not a person? Isn’t it obvious that people ARE actually out and about at 2am?

  8. So what does the community college have to do with keeping streets safe from crime? Last I heard, they are in the business of education, not public safety. Not sure how they are named (blamed) by the statement above.

    • Just a side comment re SCCC: I have noticed several people sleeping on the grounds there during this past summer (I walk past during the day). Are they allowed to camp out there at night as apparently is the case at Cal Anderson? Just curious because the people hanging out on the college grounds, I assume when classes are not in session — such as on the weekends of late, are not exactly pleasant-types and are hitting up passersby for money.

      • I agree that those campers and vagrants need to be moved off of SCCC property. There must be some security on-duty 24/7….are they turning a blind eye?

        The less friendly/accepting our neighborhood is to street people, the fewer of them will want to hang out here.

    • I’m asking for more detail but only have a second-hand account from Facebook with any substantive description. Adding a brief updated above.

      • From Robby’s Faceboook:

        Robbie Turner
        19 hours ago via mobile
        Let me be clear. The word “assaulted” has many negative connotations which is why I didn’t use it in my original post.

        I left R Place last night with a few friends to attend The Wild Rose’s Heavy Flow. We stayed there for a time. I realized the time & wanted to run over to Purr to say hello to some friends. It was then time to go home. I went outside and ordered an uber. I was greeted by a tall straight gentleman who said I was pretty. I turned around & replied graciously, thank you. Still turned toward the gentleman, but looking down at the arrival status of my uber, the man decided that he didn’t like the fact that he had mildly hit on a man dressed as a woman and slapped me. I was wearing stilettos and holding a heavy bag. I lost my footing & fell onto the fence & to the ground. When I gathered myself the man was gone.

        In regard to the Uber car ride. The car picked up another person (who was most likely intoxicated, an uber user & needed the car ride home) by accident & took them home. Uber has refunded the trip & I will continue to use Uber because I do indeed feel safe in their services as opposed to most cab companies I used to use.

        It wasn’t until I got home that I became overwhelmed by the situation. Outside of a cut inside my mouth & my tongue I am unscathed.

        My original post said “I was slapped.” Not attacked and although i realize that a slap can fall under an attack category it implies much, much more. This wasn’t a hate crime and people are exaggerating the actual facts which is not helpful. 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.

        I am so thankful for the wonderful outpouring of concern because I would do the same thing if I had heard this story, but please do not state that I was viciously attacked & a hate crime was committed.

        Tonight I will still be performing at Lashes because I still have to work & although this situation alarmed me it didn’t scare me or hurt me into hiding from public interactions. I hope this helps quell any & all rumors.

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