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.

—  Anna Waugh

Possible hate crime casts shadow over Austin’s Pride weekend

Two gay men were attacked Friday night as Austin’s Pride celebrations were under way, leading them to believe they were targeted for being gay.

Nick Soret and a friend were on 4th Street getting pizza at a food truck when a man to them started asking them what they were looking at.

Soret told Austin’s KVUE when he picked up his pizza, the man beat him with it, burning him.

The man then punched his friend in the face when he tried to intervene, and attacked Soret, cutting his lip and bruising his arm before leaving the area.

His friend has a fractured jaw and will likely need surgery.

Soret said he thinks they were attacked because he and his friend are gay.

“He thought I was checking him out or he thought I was looking at him and so for that, he knocked all my friend’s teeth out, he punched me in the face,” Soret told KVUE.

Austin police are investigating the attack. The pizza trailer had a surveillance camera on it, so police expect to find the man soon.

“It was done just out of meaness and I think prejudice. It was unprovoked. We did not provoke him, we did not engage him. We didn’t do anything,” Soret said.

News of the attack spread through Austin over the weekend and cast a shadow on the Pride festivities. Soret, who has lived in Austin for 20 years, said his sense of security is now gone.

Watch KVUE’s report below.

—  Anna Waugh

Scenes from Austin Pride on Sept. 10

Photos by Chase Martin (Dallas Voice/therepubliq.com)


 

—  John Wright

Local briefs

Miller to speak at GLFD event

Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller will speak at the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas membership kickoff event at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Fifth Floor Owners’ Lounge at The House at Victory Park, 2200 Victory Park Ave.

GLFD raises money to support local organizations outside the LGBT community to raise the visibility of and awareness of philanthropy in the LGBT community. Among previous GLFD beneficiaries are The Women’s Museum, Parkland Hospital, the Latino Cultural Center, the Dallas Symphony and Southern Methodist University.

Until now, money was raised through donations and events. Now, GLFD is soliciting memberships. A basic annual membership fee is $50. For $200, the “Advocate” level also includes two invitations to an annual member appreciation event. The $500 “Philanthropic Partner” level also includes optional website recognition.

Anyone who would like to attend should email Keith Nix at knix@keithnix.com.

UUCOC offers grief workshop

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 West Kiest Blvd., will begin a grief workshop series and a speakers forum next week.The workshop series is for those coping with loss, whether from the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or termination from a job.

Hosted by the Rev. Mark Walz, the workshops will be lead by the Rev. Xolani Kecala, chaplain and affiliated minister of UUCOC.

Interested parties should call 214-337-2429 to reserve a space. The workshops take place Sept. 15 and Oct. 13.

The Second Wednesday Speaker’s Forum kicks off on Sept. 14 with Garrett Mize, Texas Freedom Network’s youth advocacy coordinator.

Mize’s efforts focus on engaging young people to become leaders in advocating for evidence-based, comprehensive sex education.

Light refreshments and discussion begin at 6:30 p.m. Mize’s presentation begins at 7 p.m. followed by a service from 8 p.m. to8:30 p.m. focusing on the evening’s topic.

Austin Pride to help wildfire victims

Austin Pride events scheduled for Saturday will continue as planned, despite wildfires that have ravaged surrounding counties this week. But in response to the fire, Pride organizers said they are organizing a clothing and non-perishable food drive with GoingUpDay.org to help those displaced by the fires, which have destroyed more than 1,300 homes, many in Bastrop County, just east of Austin.

Austin Pride takes place Saturday, Sept. 10 in downtown Austin at Riverside Drive and South 1st Street at 8 a.m. For more information, visit AustinPride.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Austin to hold gay Pride a week before Dallas in September, but QueerBomb goes off Friday

Austin’s official gay Pride celebration has been moved from June to September this year, but an alternative “take back Pride” event called QueerBomb, which began last year, is set for this Friday in the capital. The Austin American-Statesman reports:

For a celebration of liberation and love, the changes have provoked some animosity in the local gay and lesbian community, though Queerbomb, which held its first alternative celebration the night before Pride last year because it felt that Pride had become too mainstream, says the bad feelings were short-lived.

June historically is the month for Pride parades across the country to pay homage to the Stonewall Riots — violent New York protests prompted by a police raid at a popular gay bar on June 27, 1969, that mark the beginning of America’s gay liberation movement. Queerbomb will hold Austin’s sole June rally at 7p.m. Friday, Beth Schindler, a spokeswoman for the group said.

“People have talked about the battle between Queerbomb and Austin Pride, and that’s not something I want to keep alive because it’s not true anymore,” Schindler added. “The foundation has been very open to working with us, and I’m really optimistic about what they’re doing in September, and I think we’re going to try to support them in whatever way possible.”

Organizers say Austin’s official Pride celebration was moved to September in part because they want to hold the parade during the day instead of at night to avoid disrupting businesses along the route. (Presumably it’s too hot to hold the event during the day in June.) They also say moving Austin’s Pride to September will make it a destination event because it won’t compete with celebrations in other cities — except, of course, Dallas. Austin Pride is scheduled for Sept. 10, the weekend before Dallas Pride on Sept. 18. But hey, maybe some folks from out of state can just make a month of it.

—  John Wright