S4 owners say victim assault story is “suspect”

Posted on 06 Mar 2008 at 8:14pm
By John Wright

Caven: No evidence to support claim of possible hate crime


Sid Gonzales

Sid Gonzales claims he was assaulted in a possible anti-gay hate crime at Station 4 recently.

But the owners of the popular nightclub on the Cedar Springs strip aren’t buying it.

In an article published Feb. 29, the 43-year-old Gonzales told Dallas Voice he suffered a broken wrist, a puncture wound and multiple bruises when he was assaulted by two men near S4′s main dance floor Feb. 22.

But a spokesman for Caven Enterprises, which owns S4, now says there is no evidence that the alleged assault occurred at all.

In a written statement, Caven spokesman Rick Espaillat said S4 staff members have no recollection of Gonzales reporting the incident, even though he says he notified employees. Asked about video from security cameras, Espaillat declined to discuss specifics but reitereated that there is no evidence to back up Gonzales.

"We work very hard to create a safe environment for our guests," Espaillat said in the statement. "We believe that his accusations are suspect, and an insult to the integrity of our entire organization."

Gonzales stood by his story: "I’ve been going to their bars for over 20 years," he said. "Why would I make something like that up?"

Gonzales also threatened legal action against the company, which also owns J.R.’s and Sue Ellen’s.

Gonzales thinks the two men who assaulted him came to S4 to "pick fights with queers." According to Gonzales, he was near the dance floor at about 11 p.m. when the two men, who were accompanied by a woman, walked over and stood nearby.

Gonzales said he was trying to be friendly and reached out to shake hands with one of the men. The man grabbed Gonzales’ arm, twisted it in the air and slammed it on a knee.

Gonzales said the first man also stabbed him in the hand with an unidentified object, while the second began kicking him. He said he approached two bartenders and front-desk staff following the incident but was unable to locate security.

Espaillat initially told Dallas Voice that Gonzales couldn’t locate security because officers were busy responding to several incidents around the same time, and that one of the other incidents involved the same suspects, who were eventually kicked out of the club.

But Espaillat said this week that those statements were based on information obtained from Gonzales. "Mr. Gonzales was the one who reported to us that there was another incident that may have involved the same suspects, and we began our internal investigation from that point of view," Espaillat said. "A more thorough examination has allowed us to separate his allegations from the facts."

Gonzales later filed a report with the Dallas Police Department, which classified the incident as an aggravated assault. The DPD officer who’s been assigned to the case, William Price, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

It’s not the first time Gonzales has alleged he’s been a victim of anti-gay bias. After being fired from UT Southwestern Medical Center last year, Gonzales told Dallas Voice he’d been bullied by nine female co-workers because he was gay. According to Gonzales’ termination letter, he was fired for poor job performance.

A complaint he filed with the school’s office of equal opportunity and minority affairs was dismissed for lack of evidence. A complaint he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is still pending, he said. EEOC officials could not be reached for comment.

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 7, 2008

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