ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writer

The investigation into a brutal anti-gay hate crime on March 13 in northeast Dallas is stalled because of a lack of witnesses and an inability to get in touch with the two victims, police said.

The news came as Dallas police officers addressed the concern of violence targeted at the black LGBT community during a forum at the United Black Ellument Office in Deep Ellum on Thursday night, March 22.

The forum was in response to a hate crime where two black men, 20 and 27, were beaten until they lost consciousness by a group of five men in the early morning of March 13. The assault occurred near Audelia Road and Forest Lane.

Lt. Don Ham with DPD’s Northeast Patrol Division said officers have visited the apartment complex of the two men, left business cards and requested to be contacted. Police have not been able to reach them for further comments about the assault.

“Until they work with us, the investigation is stalled,” he said. “We need tips and we need the guys involved, the complainants, to work with us.”

Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, DPD’s LGBT liaison officer, stressed the importance of reporting hate crimes to authorities. “We have low participation in people reporting crime,” Martin said. “If people see something in the community, they need to call us. … We can’t make people talk.”

Martin said police are still looking for possible suspects, described as five black men in their early 20s believed to be driving a dark four-door car with 24-inch rims the night of the assault.

The assault was the first reported anti-gay hate crime in the area. The attackers reportedly called the men “fags and sissy” before the assault.  Despite the vague description, Martin said someone saw something the night the two men were assaulted and need to step forward.

Acknowledging that shame and a concern for police bias toward LGBT people who report an assault, Martin assured the audience that Dallas police undergo diversity and sensitivity training to be able to professionally and accurately respond to all calls.

Ham reiterated the need for the black LGBT community to unite together to report and stop crime that targets their community. He stressed building relationships with neighbors and more forums to address issues in the future.

“Get to know your neighborhood,” he said. “That’s how we fight crime.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Dallas police Detective Chris Anderson at 214-671-3616.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 23, 2012.