Gay Bashings Reported in WeHo

The attacks were isolated incidents, sheriff's deputies say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Several recent attacks in West Hollywood have some wondering if gay men are being targeted. (Published Thursday, Oct 27, 2011)

    Kyan Loredo says he never used to think twice about walking alone in West Hollywood, but all that changed on Oct. 22 when he was robbed at gunpoint on the edge of the city.

    "As I tried to turn around to look at him, he hit me on the top of the head with a gun," Loredo said.

    The gunman took his wallet, his cell phone, and his sense of security.

    "At the time I couldn't believe it was happening to me because I've heard that it's happened to several friends of mine.  And even after, a bunch of people have tried to console me, saying 'I was held at gunpoint also,'" Loredo said.

    Ben Coleman started a Facebook page called Keep WeHo Safe after a friend was attacked on busy Robertson Boulevard.

    "A couple weeks later, another friend of mine was attacked and robbed.  Someone tried to steal his iPhone, and he was beat up and had to go to the hospital" Coleman said.

    Coleman and others say there have been a rash of attacks on gay men walking alone in West Hollywood.

    After a night at bar Mother Lode on Oct. 18, Billy Mandrick was physically assaulted by a six-foot-tall white male with a shaved head who yelled a homophobic slur, as was described on the blog WeHo Confidential.

    A similarly characterized attacker targeted Kasey Mahaffey on Oct. 19, reads the blog.  Mahaffey said he was assaulted as he arrived at his house that evening.

    Mahaffey said sheriff's deputies from the West Hollywood station told him there was "nothing they could do," according to LA Weekly.

    The city's mayor denies allegations that people have been targeting gay men.

    "This is what happens when people try to do investigations through social media," West Hollywood Mayor John Duran said.  "They know somebody who knows somebody.  Before you know it, people say there's a rash of gay beatings going on. It's not true."

    Duran says hate crimes are actually down in his city, but others say that's because hate crimes against gay men often go unreported.

    "It's a city of partiers. People are leaving pretty late at night. Something happens and they think it might have been their fault," Coleman said.

    West Hollywood, known as a gay and lesbian haven, sells itself as 1.9 square miles of nightlife. Whether people in the city are being targeted for their sexual orientation, or whether these are simply crimes of opportunity, Loredo wants to raise awareness.

    "Always walk with someone, be aware of your surroundings, be alert," Loredo said.

    The attacks involving the alleged victims are presumed to be isolated incidents, according to the West Hollywood sheriff’s station.

     

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