LGBTQ community rattled following weekend attack on U Street

WASHINGTON — Crimes motivated by gender and sexual orientation made up about 40 percent of hate crimes in D.C. last year. As D.C. police investigate the weekend attack on two gay men as a hate crime, their friends and community are rallying for change.

“People are of course furious and feeling terrified, which is the purpose of a hate crime,” said Lauren Taylor with the D.C. Anti-Violence Program.

After Michael Creason and Zach Link were attacked in what D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham said appears to be an unprovoked attack on U and 10th streets early Sunday, the LGBTQ community is rattled.

“Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender expression are the highest, by far, of any hate crimes in the district,” Taylor said.

According to D.C. police statistics, nearly 40 percent of hate crimes against people and property in 2017 were motivated by those reasons. Out of the 179 total hate crimes in the District last year, 56 were based on sexual orientation and 13 on gender identity or expression.

Newsham acknowledged that hate crimes have continued to rise in the city since 2015.

Meanwhile, friends and colleagues of the victims started an online fundraiser for their medical care and held a candlelight vigil on Thursday. It’s the first in a series of events that organizers call a “muscular response to end this violence once and for all.”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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