Lindsey, Champion say officers’ attitudes toward them were as painful as attack outside restaurant
Four gay men have filed a complaint with Dallas Police Department’s internal affairs division claiming police officers responding to a 911 call failed to carry out their duties at the scene of a bias-related assault.
Bill Lindsey said he and three other gay men and a woman went to Denny’s restaurant at Motor Street and I-35 at about 2:30 a.m. on June 18 to eat breakfast. Three of the party had just finished performing in a charity drag show at Illusions, but they were not in costume.
A couple and two men and a woman sitting at other tables began harassing them in the restaurant, Lindsey said.
“They were sitting at a table calling us faggots and faggot bitches,” Lindsey said. “We kind of put up with it. We even made a comment to our waitress about them being rude and tried to overlook it.”
Lindsey said after they finished their breakfast and got up to leave, the anti-gay slurs continued.
“My partner said, “‘If you want to come outside, I’ll show you what a faggot can do,’ which was probably the wrong thing to do,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey said they were followed outside and attacked by several men. One of the men hit his partner in the head from behind, and they fought back to protect themselves, he said.
“We wound up fighting,” Lindsey said.
The woman accompanying them made a 911 emergency call, Lindsey said.
Several of the men who assaulted them ran away when they saw a Dallas Transit Police squad car arrive, Lindsey said. One of the women got in a car, started it and drove toward him, he said.
“I really do believe her intentions were to hit me,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey said he was left bloody, and his bridge was broken in the fight.
Dallas Transit Police officers advised them to get in their car and leave, Lindsey said. The transit police watched as the man and woman got their car started and left, he said.
“I must have said 12 times that I wasn’t leaving until I got a police report,” Lindsey said. “This gentleman said, “‘If you don’t cool it we’ll take you downtown.'”
A Dallas Police Department squad car arrived about 30 minutes after the 911 calls were made, but the officers never approached them, Lindsey said.
Lindsey said the assault and the response by police officers left them shaken and outraged.
“I’m just appalled,” Lindsey said. “I think I’m more angry about their response to us and their emotion to us and our issues than I was the whole beating up factor.”
Michael Champion, Lindsey’s partner, said in a copy of the internal affairs complaint he provided to Dallas Voice that he was dismayed by the actions of Denny’s employees and other customers who watched the assault.
“The sad thing about the whole event is that all the Denny’s employees and customers were standing outside watching making no attempt to help or call for help,” Champion said.
Champion said the police officers failed to offer them medical assistance.
“Instead, the officers stood there laughing and talking as we began to leave which is proof that hate crimes are still allowed to occur in our city and as usual the Dallas police do nothing,” Champion said.
Lindsey said he has been eating at the Denny’s restaurant at that location for 18 years. A Denny’s representative has promised to investigate the incident, he said.
Lindsey said he thinks the Denny’s manager made a call to 911 when the fight began. He noted that he had observed verbal exchanges between gay and straight people in the past, but he had never seen physical violence before.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 30, 2006.