Suspect Arrested in Assault
Christian Howard, a 20-year-old hairdresser from Detroit, was attacked and beaten during Detroit’s 2014 Motor City Gay Pride Festival last weekend. According to the cell phone video that captured the event, there were as many as seven male attackers who punched and kicked him for about a minute before running away.
Howard was posing for a picture with a fan who recognized him from Instagram, where he has amassed a substantial social media following under the alias of “Chong Lee”. A young man standing nearby began to make anti-gay comments, calling Howard derogatory names which he ignored, and then following Howard as he walked away.
According to Howard’s rendition of the event, five additional men appeared out of nowhere and surrounded him. Howard apparently asked, “Are y’all going to jump me?” and then took a defensive stance.
Howard suffered a broken finger and bloodied eye, along with a host of bruises and scrapes in this Gay Pride Festival beating. Tamara Howard, his mother, was horrified when she heard of the attack. “My son has a right to live his life like anyone else, if he’s gay that’s his own business. Those young men need to go to jail!” she said.
One suspect has been arrested, a 16-year-old boy whose name has not yet been released to the public, pending charges. But the remaining participants have yet to be identified and apprehended. Police are treating this incident as a hate crime, and are asking the public for assistance with information.
Pride events are intended by organizers to be celebrations of the progress made by the LGBT community towards equality and acceptance. Sunday’s events suggest that there remains a significant rift in our society. It would be nice to progress toward a society where we can disagree with each other in a courteous and civilized manner. Attacks like this don’t help.