Added on 06-Nov-2010
Victim Dressed As Singer Freddie Mercury, Says Homosexual Slurs Hurled Before Attack
SAN DIEGO -- San Diego police are investigating a strange attack on two men which might have started because of a Halloween costume one of them was wearing.
Police are looking into the assault, which took place in the parking lot of a South Park-area 7-Eleven store on Halloween. A man dressed as rocker Freddie Mercury said he was attacked after being called a number of homosexual slurs.
Mercury, the flamboyant lead singer of the rock group Queen, died of AIDS in 1991.
Currently, investigators said they do not believe the attack was a hate crime because the victim and his friend who was also attacked are not gay. However, the man who dressed up as Mercury told 10News, "Neither of us are gay, but this was a hate crime."
Attorney Gretchen Von Helms said, "It does not matter if the victim is gay or not because they were attacked because they were perceived as being gay, so what that does [is] it puts the community at risk -- the community of, say, gay males who would be in fear that they would be attacked for being who they are."
The California Penal Code defines a hate crime as a criminal act because of an actual or perceived characteristic of the victim.
Nicole Murray Ramirez with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Center in Hillcrest said, "We have a great working relationship with the police department, who are very sensitive to this sort of thing. We, of course, are concerned for the community if this is true, but want to wait for the police to finish their investigation before we comment further."