WATCH: Another attack in a bar; this time it’s a lesbian who’s injured — and then arrested

Laura Gilbert says after she was beat up by patrons of an Opelika, Ala., bar because she’s gay, sheriff’s deputies there arrested her instead of her attackers.

Back on Jan. 28 we told you about John Skaggs, a 52-year-old gay man who was beaten with a pool cue in a Shreveport bar by another man who allegedly said he was going to beat Skaggs up because Skaggs is gay. The suspect in that case, 32-year-old William Payne, has been arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder and the commission of a hate crime.

In that case, the owner of the bar, Tim Huck, told KLSA 12 television news the attack was unprovoked and was “totally 100 percent a hate crime for his sexual orientation.”

Now comes word from Opelika, Ala., about another gay-bashing in a bar, only this time the victim was a lesbian. And this time, law enforcement officers who arrived at the scene arrested only the woman who’d been beat up.

Laura Gilbert, 25, told WRBL 3 News that she had gone to The Villa outside Opelika with her friend from high school, Sheila Siddall, to celebrate Siddall’s birthday by singing karaoke. Gilbert said she felt uncomfortable as soon as she walked into the bar and people began staring at her, but she stayed because she didn’t want to ruin Siddall’s birthday celebration.

Later, when Gilbert and Siddall started to leave the bar, they were confronted by a woman who started a fistfight that moved outside and grew to include about 12 people, including two men. Siddall called 911 on her cell phone, but when sheriff’s deputies arrived they arrested only Gilbert. Siddall said the officers refused to even listen to her’s and Gilbert’s side of the story and were “over there cutting up with the ones who did it [beat up Gilbert].” New reports also indicated that the only person who suffered any injuries was Gilbert.

Gilbert is charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Sheriff Jay Jones said that had deputies been told the fight was a hate crime, they would have reported it as such, and said they did not get information for the report from Gilbert and Siddall because the two were too intoxicated. When asked why the deputies did take statements from others at the scene who were also intoxicated, James said the deputies did the best they could.

Gilbert and Siddall have both since filed separate reports about the fight, but Gilbert told WRBL that she still hasn’t been contacted by officials.

Alabama does have a hate crime law, but it does not include sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

—  admin

Gay man severely beaten with pool cue in apparent hate crime at Shreveport bar

John Skaggs sustained sustained multiple fractures to his face.

Just up the road in Shreveport, La., a 52-year-old gay man was severely beaten with a pool cue in a possible hate crime at a downtown bar, according to KLSA 12. The victim, John Skaggs, is recovering at home after being hospitalized with several fractures to his face. The suspect, William Payne, is charged with attempted second-degree murder in the unprovoked attack, which was caught on surveillance videotape:

“He’s going to have some pretty serious reconstructive surgery, broken jaw, and broken bone that holds his eye socket,” said the manager and owner of the Sandbar, Tim Huck. …

“It was totally 100 percent a hate crime for this sexual orientation,” said Huck.

The bar provided police with video surveillance. Huck says it’s disturbing, and shows Payne who is a large man, breaking the cue stick over Skaggs’ face with one powerful blow.

Shreveport police believe that the video will be powerful evidence of the alleged attack, and management at the Sandbar believes it will also help distinguish between a crime and a hate crime.

“At no point in time had he talked to the man that attacked him, bumped him. After watching the video and from witnesses they hadn’t even made any form of eye contact or anything,” said Huck.

Huck considers Skaggs a friend, and says he can’t understand why someone would want to hurt him.

“Literally just enjoying a drink, in here four or five times a week, and never bothers anyone,” said Huck.

Via Joe.My.God.

—  John Wright