Man indicted for Austin Pride attack won’t face hate crime enhancement

Lambert Borgardt

Lambert Borgardt

A Travis County grand jury indicted a Lambert Borgardt yesterday for the attack of two gay men during Austin’s LGBT Pride weekend in September.

The grand jury didn’t indict Borgardt, 28, on a hate crime enhancement because there isn’t audio of what was said during the attack caught on surveillance video, prosecutor Andrea Austin told KVUE. Instead, he was indicted for aggravated assault and battery, a second-degree felony.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering pizza at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when Borgardt began asking Soret if he was looking at him. He became enraged and attacked Soret, breaking his nose. Oppleman stepped in and was also attacked. He lost five teeth and had a fractured jaw from the attack.

The video helped police identify Borgardt, who later turned himself in, claiming self-defense for the attack.

Soret told KVUE that he believed the attack was a hate crime because they are gay and Borgardt kept asking him what he was looking at during Pride festivities, as if he thought they were checking him out.

If Borgardt’s charge was enhanced because of the hate crime element, he would have faced a first-degree felony conviction. If convicted, he now faces two to 20 years in jail.

Watch KVUE’s report below.

—  Dallasvoice

UPDATE: Suspect in attack on gay men at Austin pizza trailer turns himself in

Lambert Borgardt

Last Friday we told you police had identified a suspect in an attack on two gay men at a pizza trailer in downtown Austin during LGBT Pride weekend in September.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when a man began asking Soret if he was looking at him. The man became enraged and attacked Soret, so Oppleman stepped in. Oppleman was hit so hard six of his teeth were knocked out and it was believed he would need oral surgery for his fractured jaw.

Police issued a warrant on Friday for the arrest of 28-year-old Lambert Borgardt, on charges of aggravated assault and assault with injury. Austin media outlets are reporting today that Borgardt has since turned himself in to the Travis County jail. His booking photo is at right.

It will be interesting to see whether the Travis County District Attorney’s Office pursues this case as an anti-gay hate crime, which could result in the aggravated assault charge being enhanced to a first-degree felony.

Borgardt reportedly has been released on bond and is claiming self-defense.

LGBT activist Michael Diviesti of GetEQUAL TX told Instant Tea that more than 30 acts of violence have occurred near the corner of 4th and Colorado in downtown Austin in the last four years, and many of them have been suspected hate crimes.

“The fact of the matter is that the Austin LGBTQ community is happy that APD is working toward apprehending the man who attacked Nick Soret and Andrew Oppleman,” Diviesti said. “But City Hall and the Austin Police Department need to figure out how to provide uniformed officers on that corner to deter these types of attacks from happening in a high traffic area for our community.”

—  John Wright

Police identify suspect in attack on gay men at Austin pizza trailer during Pride

Victim Andrew Oppleman is shown after the attack.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said the suspect had been arrested. A warrant has been issued, but the suspect has not yet been taken into custody.

Austin police have identified a suspect in an assault on two gay men at a downtown pizza trailer that occurred during LGBT Pride weekend.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when a man began asking Soret if he was looking at him. The man became enraged and attacked Soret, so Oppleman stepped in.

Oppleman was hit so hard six of his teeth were knocked out and it was believed he would need oral surgery for his fractured jaw.

Police later released surveillance video of the attack, and they say tips led them to Lambert Borgardt, 28, who when contacted admitted to his role in the incident.

Fox 7 reports today that have issued an arrest warrant for Borgardt charging with  him with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.

If the case is prosecuted as an anti-gay hate crime under Texas’ statute, the offense could be bumped up to a first-degree felony.

Watch the surveillance video from the attack below.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Surveillance video of Austin hate crime during Pride weekend

The man pictured in the center with a baseball cap and glasses is the attacker Austin police are still trying to identify.

Austin police released surveillance footage this morning of an assault on two gay men during Austin Pride weekend on Sept. 21.

The video shows Nick Soret ordering pizza when a man speaks to him, then knocks his pizza out of his hands. His friend, Andrew Oppleman, intervene and the suspect begins punching Oppleman. Oppleman lost six teeth and suffered a fractured jaw in the attack.

The video was obtained from the pizza truck owner.

The video shows another man who walks up with the attacker. Police arrested Jin Yung Park, 31, that night for public intoxication, but since the incident, he has moved and hasn’t returned police phone calls, Austin’s KVUE reports.

The attacker is described as an Asian male in his late 20s or early 30s and is about 6 feet tall with a muscular build.

Police are still looking for witnesses and are investigating the incident as an anti-gay hate crime.

“It’s crucial. The high-quality security video shows the assault as plain as day,” APD Cpl. Anthony Hipolito told KVUE. “You can see it even though it is dark outside. The assault was clear. You can see who this guy is.”

GetEQUAL TX is planning a March Against Hate event tomorrow morning where participants will march to the state Capitol and hear from victims of hate crimes, including Oppleman.

Watch the video below.

—  Dallasvoice

Rally for victim of anti-gay hate crime in Austin rescheduled for this weekend

A forecast of heavy rain and flooding in Austin this past weekend forced GetEQUAL TX to postpone a March Against Hate event for a victim of an anti-gay hate crime.

The event has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 6. Those who attend will still meet at Austin City Hall at 11:45 a.m. and march to the Capitol at noon, followed by remarks by several speakers.

Among those speakers will be Andrew Oppleman, a gay man who attended Austin Pride with a friend and was beaten when he tried to protect his friend from the attacker.

Speakers may be added to the schedule because of the changed date. Check here for updates.

—  Dallasvoice

Austin rally for anti-gay hate crime victim planned for Saturday

GetEQUAL TX is holding a March Against Hate event in Austin on Saturday for one of the victims of an anti-gay hate crime last Friday.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering pizza at a food truck during Austin Pride with friend Nick Soret when a man began asking Soret if he was looking at him. The man became enraged and attacked Soret, so Oppleman stepped in.

Oppleman was hit so hard six of his teeth were knocked out and it was believed he would need oral surgery for his fractured jaw. Austin police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

Oppleman will talk about his experience at the event, which begins at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at Republic State Park. Attendees will then march to the Capitol at noon and listen to speeches at 12:30 p.m.

Other speakers include Michael Diviesti of GetEQUAL TX, Chuck Smith of Equality Texas, Paul Huddleston of Austin Pride, Sami-Di Williams of Grrlz Will Be Boiz, as well as victims and community members.

Oppleman’s story, as told in the press release announcing the event, is below:

My name is Andrew Oppleman and this is my story…

Little did I know, last Friday night Sept 22th 2012, I’d be changed forever.

I was in town for Austin Pride. It was one of my many trips to enjoy all that Austin has to offer; great entertainment, outdoor recreation and most of all the people; laid back and easy going. My welcome started like this…My buddy Nick Soret was ordering pizza at 4th and Colorado at about midnight as I just arrived from a 3 hour drive from Houston. As I waited for Nick to grab his pizza and leave, another patron started screaming at Nick “What are you looking at?” over and over again. As he grabbed Nick’s hot pizza and threw it on Nick’s face, arm and body the man proceeded to start punching him. I immediately tried to quell the suspects rage and told the man to “STOP HITTING MY FRIEND!” With that he turned around and pushed me down into the construction on the street. I got up and as I turned back to the Pizza Truck I was immediately met with the amazing force of his fist hitting me square in the mouth. I then saw the man wildly punching Nick’s skull, and body as Nick fell to the ground in a fetal position trying to protect his face and head. As quickly as it started the suspect ran away, while his friend who is an Austin local just stood there and laughed as blood gushed from my mouth. I then spent 8 hours at Brackenridge Hospital. In the end Nick sustained a black eye, a busted and bruised lip and additional bruises on his body. I left Austin with a busted lip and 6 missing teeth.

I invite you to join us and the rest of the Austin community this Saturday at 11:45am at Republic Square Park to raise awareness and March Against Hate to the Capitol. Spread the word to take Austin back!

 

—  Dallasvoice