Chamber, ilume developer pledge reward funds for info on Oak Lawn attacks

crosland veddaOfficials with the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce announced today (Friday, Nov. 20) that the chamber has pledged $2,500 to be added to the reward offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects responsible for recent robberies and assaults in the Oak Lawn gayborhood. Luke Crosland, owner of The Crosland Group that developed the two ilume complexes on Cedar Springs Road, has promised to match that with another $2,500.

Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda said he is optimistic that the additional reward money will motivate anyone with information on the 12 crimes that have occurred here in the last three months to come forward.

“It is our shared hope that we can come together as a community with our voices and our resources to catch whomever is perpetrating these crimes,” Vedda said in a statement released this afternoon. “Our businesses, patrons and residents have a vested interest in preventing further incidents.”

Crosland said he, too, is committed to finding justice for the victims, and that he wants the community to remain vigilant.

“We have continued to invest in private armed security for our properties, as safety is a top priority for our members, tenants and customers,” Crosland said. “This neighborhood is a wonderful place to live, shop and celebrate, and we are dedicated to finding the culprits.”

The money from the chamber and Crosland will be added to $10,000 in reward money already pledged to Crime Stoppers with help from Resource Center and Dallas City Councilman Adam Medrano.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Tap House employee attacked; community members vow to fight back


Geoffrey Hubbard

We are getting more information as the morning wears on about the attack last night of Geoffrey Hubbard at the intersection of Rawlins and Knight streets in Oak Lawn. We are also hearing from several people that they intend to take to the streets of the gayborhood this weekend, armed with guns, to protect themselves and others, and at least one man is trying to organize a kind of community watch to patrol the streets in shifts.

This is at least the 12th reported attack on a gay man in Oak Lawn since Sept. 20. At least three other attacks have taken place that Dallas Voice has heard of that may not have been reported to police.

Hubbard, in a post to his Facebook page this morning, said that doctors at Baylor stitched a laceration on the left side of his head, just over his ear, and that a CAT scan “found a temporal fracture in my skull. Got put on morphine and sent to the ICU for observation.”

Information released by the DPD’s Public Information Office this morning said that an off-duty police officer was driving through the neighborhood at around 11:13 p.m. Thursday night, Nov. 19, “when he came across the victim who was hiding underneath a vehicle.” The statement indicates that Hubbard told the officer “he was walking on the sidewalk towards where the suspect was standing and tried to go around him [and] that is when the suspect struck the victim in the head with an unknown object. The victim ran away from the suspect and hid under a vehicle.”

The statement also said that detectives were “able to confirm this morning that robbery was the motive of this offense” because Hubbard told investigators that the suspect when through his pockets after knocking him to the ground and “appeared to be looking for his wallet.”

Geoffrey Hubbard

Geoffrey Hubbard

Police have asked that anyone with information call 214-671-3584.

But Hubbard’s best friend, Caleb Barton, said that Hubbard was attacked by two African-American men, about 5-feet, 9-inches to 5-feet, 11-inches, wearing dark pants, t-shirts and caps/beanies. Barton said Hubbard told him that he saw one of the suspects ahead of him and that a second attacked him from the side.

This description of the attack on Hubbard matches the description of the Nov. 1 attack on Tito Gonzalez. Gonzalez was walking home from his job at Quesa when he noticed a man following him. He tried to cross the street, but someone approached from that side. The two men trapped him and brutally attacked.

The attack on Hubbard, coming less than 24 hours after the second community meeting this week with Dallas Police Department officials over the increased violence, has infuriated many residents of and frequent visitors to Oak Lawn. More than one person has contacted Dallas Voice reporter David Taffet this morning, telling him they are licensed to carry concealed handguns, and plan to be on the streets of Oak Lawn with those guns this weekend.

Justin Penney, who works at Thairrific restaurant, posted on Facebook asking for people to join him in staking out “certain areas around Cedar Springs” this weekend. “Hours of watch will be 10 p.m.-12 [a.m.] to start. The more people we have the more area we can cover. If DPD won’t keep us safe it’s up to us.”

Officer Laura Martin, the DPD’s liaison to the LGBT community, this morning warned against private citizens arming themselves to patrol the streets. “It’s a bad idea,” she said.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Tap House employee attacked

Geoffrey Hubbard

Geoffrey Hubbard

Another person has been injured in an attack in the gayborhood, according to posts on Facebook overnight.

Geoffrey Hubbard, a server at Cedar Springs Tap House, is in Baylor Hospital in Dallas after being beaten during an attempted robbery at the intersection of Knight and Rawlins streets.

“Just a casual stroll a few blocks over to a friend’s house and I get smacked in the head by some guy attempting to mug me,” Hubbard said on Facebook, posting a photo of himself with a bloody face and bandages wrapped around his head.

Hubbard said he was able to crawl under a nearby car to prevent his assailants from taking his money.

This attack mimics one that occurred on Nov. 1. Tito Gonzalez was walking home from his job at Quesa when he noticed a man following him. He tried to cross the street, but someone approached from that side. The two men trapped him and brutally attacked.

In this attack, one man approached from in front of him while another attacked him on the head from behind.

This is at least the 12th reported attack on a gay man in Oak Lawn since Sept. 20. At least three other attacks have taken place that Dallas Voice has heard of that may not have been reported to police.

—  Tammye Nash

Take a stand

Je suis français
‘inna aleiraqi
‘inna lubnani
Today, we need to all realize that we are all HUMAN. We must stand with Paris. We must stand with Bagdad. We must stand with Beirut.
We must all stand together, and we must all stand against extremism and violence, in all their forms.


3 Flags

—  Tammye Nash

Lighting up Oak Lawn for safety

Dallas Voice photographer Winston Lackey was on the scene Sunday night, Nov. 1, for the Light Up Oak Lawn: March for a Safer Gayborhood event. Here are his photos from the event.

—  Tammye Nash

Police still looking for leads in September murder of gay man on Cedar Springs


Joseph Chase

Dallas Police are still looking for information regarding the murder of a gay man beaten to death early in the morning of Sept. 25 at the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street.

According to the DPD Blog, officers were flagged down at about 2:30 a.m. regarding a man, later identified as 54-year-old Joseph Chase who was lying unconscious on the sidewalk near the intersection, suffering from possible head trauma.

Dallas Fire Rescue took Chase to Parkland Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officials with the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office told police that Chase had suffered blunt force injuries to his neck area and ruled his death a homicide.

Investigators later found video footage of the attack on Chase taken by nearby surveillance cameras — you can see the video below. The footage was captured on a camera across the street from where the attack occurred. It is dark and the incident with Chase is seen from a distance and is partially obscured by a tree on the sidewalk. The footage, however, appears to show two unknown suspects involved in an altercation with Chase, and one of the suspects hitting Chase and knocking him to the ground.

Passersby who saw Chase on the ground flagged down police.

“At this time, no eyewitnesses to the assault/homicide have come forward,” according to the DPD Blog. “This offense is documented on Incident Report #230525-2014.”

Homicide Det. Derick Chaney is lead investigator on the case, and he asked for Dallas Voice’s help earlier this month in trying to find witnesses or anyone with information regarding the attack on Joseph Chase. We ran this post, which was viewed more than 700 times, at that time, but Chaney said this week that he has received no information at all on the case.

Chaney asks again that anyone with any information regarding the attack on Joseph Chase call him at 214-671-3650.

—  Tammye Nash

Son of a beach

A family vacation proves unexpectedly gay as Myrtle Beach, S.C., gets Pride

RAINBOW TOUR | Nearly 200 beachcombers — including the author (dark green, just right of center) — stepped away from the surf and gathered in a field to form a human rainbow flag.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., had more to do with a family reunion than finding a good destination for gay travelers. After all, Myrtle Beach is a pretty lazy, conservative town in the perennial Red State, one where teenaged spring breakers and families gather to enjoy the warm surf and the resort-town appeal of seafood and beachcombing and overpriced cocktails. Queer travelers can hit one of the three gay bars, all within blocks of each other — Club Traxx, Time Out! and the Rainbow House (a lesbian club).

But the weekend I arrived , just by coincidence, it turned out to be Gay Pride.

Keep in mind, the gay community in Myrtle Beach is small, so “Gay Days,” plural, felt more like Gay Day, singular: One major event and then life as usual in Coastal Carolina.

The major event, though, was an ambitious one: Gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to form a “human rainbow flag:” People signed up to wear a pastel-colored T-shirt and arrange themselves in the traditional configuration. A few others wore black, forming the flagpole.

The entire event was threatened by showers late Friday and early Saturday, but despite a slightly muddy field, nearly 200 people turned out, huddled closely on a muggy afternoon, while a photographer flew above in a helicopter.

Numbers weren’t uniform; there were too many reds and too few purples; but the effect was one of a flag waving in the breeze.

In order to do the shoot, members faced each other before bending forward to allow the broad field of their shirts to form the colors. Directly across from me stood Elke Kennedy, a resident of Greenville in the Upstate. Elke and her husband established, raising awareness of anti-gay violence, after their gay son was beaten to death and his killer spent less than a year in jail.

Elke spoke at a rally following the photoshoot, and dozens in attendance listened to her recount her  son’s harrowing attack and death before two drag queens performed and a DJ spun dance hits. People started to file out after a while, off to the beach, or the clubs, or even the boardwalk, where the Texas Star-like Skywheel gives great views of the beach … and sits next door to the campily named souvenir shop the Gay Dolphin.

The latter was always may favorite place when I was growing up; you’d think my parents would have caught on sooner.

Click here for additional photos.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Woman pleads guilty in case of videotaped beating of trans woman at McDonald’s

Teona Brown, 19, has pled guilty Thursday, Aug. 4, to first degree assault charges and a hate crime charge in connection with the beating of transgender woman Chrissy Polis last April in Towson,

Chrissy Polis

Md. The attack was captured on video by a McDonald’s employee — who filmed the assault rather than step in and try to stop it — last April. The video went viral online and was used, along with new footage from a surveillance camera, in court hearings this week. CBS Baltimore has this report on the plea.

Conviction on a first degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and a hate crime conviction could add another 10 years. Because Brown pled guilty to the attack, prosecutors are recommending that the judge sentence her to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for next month.

Polis was present in court on Thursday, but told reporters she was nervous about being there and had no comment. “I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as possible,” she said.

A second person charged in the attack was 14 at the time and has been charged with assault as a juvenile. Because she is a minor, her identity has not been released.

Below is a video of a news report aired on the Washington, D.C., Fox news program when the attack happened. It includes video of the attack and, as State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said this week, “The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Maryland Senate kills gender identity bill; anti-gay hate crime at UNC

Quinn Matney was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime at the University of North Carolina.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. For a third straight week, LGBT advocates plan to speak during the Dallas County Commissioners Court’s meeting today and call on commissioners to add transgender employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. Last month, commissioners voted to add sexual orientation but not gender identity to the policy. The Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 411 Elm St.

2. The Maryland Senate on Monday voted to kill a measure that would have protected transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and credit — but not public accommodations. The vote marks the second major disappointment this year for LGBT advocates in Maryland, where the House thwarted a marriage equality bill last month.

3. A University of North Carolina freshman says he was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime on the school’s campus last week. The UNC administration, which failed to notify students until a week after the attack occurred, now says it plans to report the incident as an anti-gay hate crime to the federal government.

—  John Wright

Canadian Corporal Sentenced To 1 Year For Gay Club Attack That Left Man With Jaw Wired Shut

Michael Tscherkassow, a 25-year-old corporal in the Canadian Forces, will serve 12 months for beating Cody Garbutt in March 2009 as he was walking off the dancefloor at the since-shuttered gay club Play. Tscherkassow, who was convicted of aggravated assault during an October trial, bragged about the assault on Facebook, saying he "Superman-punched" someone. Rather than own up to the attack, Tscherkassow claimed Garbutt's friend Kyle Roley was the one who punched him; the judge didn't buy it. Garbutt, who suffered a broken jaw, nose, and damage to his right eye and mouth, required his jaw to be wired shut for five weeks while healing. He now has four steel plates in his face. A twelve-month punishment? Sounds like a vacation.

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—  David Taffet