Seattle Police investigate another Pride bashing on Capitol Hill

(Image: Poco)

(Image: Poco)

An employee of E Pine’s Poco Wine and Spirits was severely beaten in a Pride weekend attack that Seattle Police detectives are investigating as a hate crime. (UPDATE: Poco tells us the person who was attacked is a manager at the venue not an owner as documented in the SPD report on the incident. “Owners Tramale and Jackie are fine, but we were all troubled by what happened,” a Poco rep tells CHS.)

According to the East Precinct report on the assault, the male victim left the Cuff around 11:30 PM on Saturday, June 25th and was walking alone on E Pine when he was approached by an unknown male. The victim told police the suspect walked up, called him a faggot, and punched him in the face.

The victim suffered “significant” injuries from the single punch including “swelling, bruising and cuts around his left eye” and a scraped left shoulder, police said. The victim told police he could not remember what had happened immediately following the punch and may have lost consciousness. Continue reading

Anti-LGBTQ violence prompts self-defense classes in Volunteer Park

9U0A5911Around 20 people gathered in Volunteer Park on Sunday for the first in a series of self-defense classes being offered in the park this summer. The outdoor seminar is free and open to all, but specifically geared towards the LGBTQ community and people of color. With the recent assault of a trans person on Capitol Hill during Pride weighing heavily on the minds of attendees, organizers said the need to prepare for such attacks is an unfortunate reality.

“It really breaks my heart to see violence in this community and I’m just so tired of it,” said instructor Brendan Ng, who organized the class along with two other martial arts practitioners. The fist class was primarily attended by women.

One attendee, who gave her name as Sterling, said that while she has never felt “super, super unsafe” on Capitol Hill, she has been in some dangerous situations and heard about gruesome attacks, such as the anti-trans beating in June, that prompted her to attend the seminar. “I realized, ‘Oh, that could be me,’ and I thought I should learn how to defend myself,” she said. Continue reading

Police investigate E Pike beating following Orlando benefit show as anti-trans hate crime

Police are investigating the reported beating of a person leaving a Capitol Hill benefit for Orlando Wednesday night as as a hate crime.

Friends and supporters have donated more than $10,000 to help support Michael Volz during recovery from injuries in Wednesday night’s reported anti-trans beating at 11th and Pike:

Dear community, It is with a heavy heart, deep sadness, and great rage, that I let you know our dear friend Michael M Volz was assaulted last night on capitol hill. Michael, myself, and a group of friends attended the fundraiser to benefit the pulse massacre last night at Neumos. Michael left a little bit before everyone to walk to their car and get ready for work in the morning. As Michael was walking to their car, they past the rose, and were approached by a white man in an orange sweatshirt with scruffy brown hair. The man said to Michael, Happy Pride, and began to assault Michael. As he, was punching and choking Michael, he said, “show me your tits you tranny cunt” Michael some how made it back to their house. Michael contacted myself and their friend Sharon. Sharon drove Michael to the hospital and I met them at the Emergency Room. Currently, michael is home. They have some stitches, abrasions, and a lot of bruising. We will need food and people willing to spend time with Michael over the weekend. Currently, we have care situated until early tomorrow afternoon. If you are available to bring food or company please contact us!

Michael wanted me to attach pictures because this is what transphobia looks like. pictures in comments.

Queer Tears
Queer Rage
Queer Feelings
Queer Resilience

According to Seattle Police, officers responded to a vehicle carrying the victim to investigate the incident around 2:15 AM Thursday morning. Police records show the beating was reported to have happened around 11:30 PM Wednesday night near 11th and E Pike following the Let Your Love Shine: A Queer Benefit For Orlando at Neumos.

UPDATE 4:45 PM: At a Friday afternoon media conference in Cal Anderson before the start of the 2016 Trans* Pride rally and march, Volz, who was still showing wounds from the attack, was accompanied by around 100 supporters and said the attack is part of “a climate of hate” against trans people.

“This is not an isolated incident, this is something that happens to our community frequently and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Volz said.

Volz said they were encouraged by all the people who have offered support.

“It is what great sadness and anger, quite frankly, that I have to stand here,” said SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best.

Volz was joined by trans activist Danni Askini,founder of the Gender Justice League, who called on people to reject anti-trans bills in the state.

“All of us are in shock and fearful,” Askini said.

“Part of our efforts to do things like Trans Pride Seattle is to create community and solidarity so that people do not feel isolated,” Askini said.

Best said police have not identified a suspect and there is no known video from nearby businesses showing the incident.

Despite the number of Safe Places near the location of the attack, Best said it was not a reflection that the LGBTQ safety program was not working.


UPDATE 12:40 PM: Police announced Friday afternoon that the FBI is assisting the investigation of the crime and provided new details of the attack: Continue reading

Seattle schools are now LGBTQ Safe Places, too

(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

“While we see a rolling back of civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in some corners of the country, Seattle remains inclusive and welcoming to all people.”

The SPD program launched on Capitol Hill in 2015 for businesses and organizations to provide safe haven for victims and raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ hate crime is now in place across the city’s school system.

All 98 Seattle Public Schools will now be Safe Places.

“While we see a rolling back of civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in some corners of the country, Seattle remains inclusive and welcoming to all people,” Mayor Ed Murray said in an announcement on the new rollout for the program. “SPD Safe Place brings together businesses, community organizations, and the public to stand up against hate and intolerance. I applaud Seattle Public Schools for bringing this important program to our schools, empowering students to speak out against anti-LGBTQ harassment.”

Known for its rainbow bad stickers, the program also includes which is designed as a portal with information about bias crimes and prevention along with tools to help victims report incidents.

To be part of the program, participants must pledge to prepare their businesses as safe harbors for victims and train employees:

By signing this commitment pledge I agree to use these decals/signs for their intended purpose by posting them on my premise. I further agree to instruct my organization’s employees to assist the victims and/or witnesses to anti-LGBTQ crimes by calling the police on their behalf and allowing them to remain on my premise until police arrive.

You can sign up to get the decals here.

“Our district is proud to partner with the City and the Seattle Police Department to make all of our schools Safe Places,” Seattle Public Schools superintendent Larry Nyland said. “This is a continuation of our commitment to ensuring all our students feel safe and equal in our schools”

SPD says the Safe Place program has now reached 1,600 locations across the city.

Tech bros, affordability, and mental health — ‘the end of the line for Seattle’s gay neighborhood’

This ‘Not one more’ march against anti-queer violence on Capitol Hill last June showed there still some fight left in the gayborhood (Image: CHS)

This ‘Not one more’ march against anti-queer violence on Capitol Hill last June showed there still some fight left in the gayborhood (Image: CHS)

As “My husband Michael and I were recently out on a Saturday night and were walking around the Pine/Pike Corridor. And we looked at each other and said: my God, what happened to the gays? Literally, who are all of these straight people in our neighborhood?”

That’s from a Capitol Hill resident most of us know as Mayor Ed Murray quoted by a US-based writer for British newspaper The Guardian in a story headlined Violence in Capitol Hill: is this the end of the line for Seattle’s gay neighborhood?

It’s a bummer read:

Although Seattle is one of the “gayest” city in America – recently released census data shows the city of Seattle saw a 52% increase in same-sex couples from 2010 to 2012 – the Capitol Hill neighborhood saw a 23% decline of LGBT people living there during the same period. Meanwhile, rents have also gone up by more than 33%, according to Zillow.

As much as it is a story about hate crime, it is also a story of economics: Continue reading

Neighbours arson case finally drew to close in 2015

Two years ago this New Year’s Eve, Capitol Hill nearly suffered a horrific tragedy. More than 700 people were partying to ring in 2014 when an arsonist set Broadway’s iconic gay dance club on fire. No one was seriously injured inside Neighbours that night thanks to fast acting staff and patrons who were able to douse the flames before they spread to the packed dance floor.

As the crime drifts into the neighborhood’s history as a sad reminder of the dangers of hate and mental illness, the case against the troubled former Capitol Hill resident who tried to burn the club down didn’t end until 2015. Continue reading

30-month federal hate crime sentence in Capitol Hill knife attack

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.28.46 PMThe Department of Justice announced Monday afternoon that the 38-year-old man convicted of a federal hate crime for a January attack on Capitol Hill has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail.

Prosecutors said Troy Deacon Burns threatened three men with a knife while yelling homophobic slurs near Harvard and Pike in the January 25th attack. Because the knife “travelled in interstate commerce,” prosecutors charged the defendant in federal court.

Burns faced up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The defendant reached a plea agreement in August and “admitted that just after midnight on Jan. 25, 2015, he attacked three gay men who were walking in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood,” the DOJ announcement reads.

According to investigators, Burns had been living in shelters, is addicted to drugs, and was on Capitol Hill to sell meth the night of the crime.

The hate crime case helped spark a wave of concern this year about anti-gay bias crimes on Capitol Hill. This summer, Mayor Ed Murray’s LGBTQ task force released a report with recommendations for strengthening the gay community and increasing safety in the city. Other efforts underway include SPD’s Safe Place program and a new nighttime LGBTQ safety shuttle.

The full DOJ announcement is below.

A Bremerton, Washington, man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison following his conviction of a federal hate crime, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington. Continue reading

SPD investigating Capitol Hill gay bashing and robbery

Seattle Police are investigating a Capitol Hill gay bashing and robbery after a man said he was assaulted near E Harrison and Summit Sunday night.

The victim, who asked to remain anonymous, told CHS he was walking home around 10:30 PM Sunday when the assault occurred. As he passed the suspect, the victim said he heard the man call him a faggot then immediately started punching him in the head.

“He wasn’t yelling or anything. In a calm voice just kept saying ‘fucking faggot, fucking faggot,’” he said. Continue reading

Blotter | Man charged with hate crime for attack on transgender woman in Cal Anderson Park

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Hate crime charge filed: A 28-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime after he allegedly attacked a transgender woman in Cal Anderson Park last month. Peter Trovesi pleaded not guilty to malicious harassment and assault during his arraignment Monday.  A trial has been scheduled to start August 24th.

According to police reports, officers responded to a disturbance call at Cal Anderson Park on July 23rd. A witness told officers that Trovesi approached one of his friends, a transgender woman, and began arguing with her about her sexual identity. As the woman walked away, the witness said Trovesi ran up behind her and dumped a cup of ice over her head. He then punched the woman several times in the head, the witness told police.

SPD’s LGBT liaison officer was called to the scene, but the victim and Trovesi had already left the area. Trovesi was able to elude police until later that night when officers found him when responding to a domestic violence call on Capitol Hill. Officers recognized his name and booked Trovesi into King County Jail for malicious harassment. Continue reading

Blotter | SPD investigating attack on transgender woman in Cal Anderson

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Cal Anderson transgender attack: A man who punched a transgender woman in Cal Anderson Park Thursday afternoon was able to elude police following the 4 PM assault. But SPD says officers took the suspect into custody later Thursday night:

    Officers arrested a 28 year-old man Thursday evening after he attacked a transgender woman at Cal Anderson Park.

    Police  responded to an assault call at the park just before 4 PM, where they learned the suspect had harassed a transgender woman, before throwing a cup of ice water at her and punching her in the head. The suspect also assaulted a witness, who had tried to intervene.

    Officers spoke with the victims but couldn’t find the suspect, who had fled the scene.

    Two hours after the incident in the park, Seattle police responded to another report of disturbance in the 1400 block of Boylston. Officers soon discovered the suspect in the Boylston incident was the same man they’d been looking for in the Cal Anderson assault.

    Police say the 28-year-old suspect was arrested and booked into King County Jail for assault. SPD says it will continue to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.

  • Hit and run and run: Police were searching for both the victim and the vehicle in a Broadway/Pike hit and run late Thursday night at Broadway and Pine. According to police radio, the victim was also a suspect — the male was reportedly fleeing with a stolen backpack when he was struck. The theft suspect ran from the scene eastbound on Pine with a serious laceration to his head while the car sped away to the west. There were no arrests.