Ohio Police Arrest 13-Year-Old Boy for Alleged Anti-Gay Attacks
Police from Cleveland, Ohio, have arrested a 13-year-old boy in connection with a series of possible anti-gay attacks, Cleveland.com reports.
The latest attack occurred around 8 p.m. Friday night when Ric Scardino, 58, was on the rooftop patio of a popular gay bar in Cleveland called Cocktails Cleveland. A group of about 10 young men allegedly started throwing rocks and mulch at the bar’s staff and customers. According to police, the group hurled anti-gay epithets and said the young men’s initial target was Cocktail’s bartender. The bar’s patrons, however, chased the group away.
"To me, that is disgusting. I was so upset that the boy was 13," Ric Scardino told the New York Daily News. "That means he was taught that hatred. He was taught to be violent."
The alleged suspects returned to the bar, this time carrying sticks and a broom, the police said. The group then started threatening the bartender, using anti-gay slurs.
Scardino said that when "a large rock came in, I got upset and ran out" and walked to the corner, where the group beat him with a broom and verbally assaulted him, explaining how they would abuse him with the broom handle.
"I reached in my pockets for a can of Mace. A boy in a white shirt yelled, ’Faggot’s got a gun!’ and they scattered," he added.
When the kids left again, Cocktails employees called the police, who located a suspect based on identification from one of the victims. The police then took the 13-year-old boy back to the bar, where he was identified as being part of the attack.
The first attack occurred over the Labor Day weekend when Jared Fox, 26, was attacked just after midnight on Sept. 1. Fox, who lives in Brooklyn, was in Cleveland visiting family, and beaten by a similar group of young men outside Cocktails.
Fox calls the attack a hate crime and said the gang went after him because they allegedly thought a gay man would be an easy target to rob.
"I told them I didn’t have anything and they just surrounded me. They were everywhere, and just started beating me. I fully believe it was because I am gay," Fox said. He added the attackers punched him in the face a number of times and knocked him to the ground.
"They said what’s in your pockets and I said, I got no money I’m broke, and they said, ’oh so you’re one of those broke [slur]?’ And then they just started swinging," Fox said.
Fox suffered a black eye, a ruptured right eardrum and some hearing loss. He also has several bruises over his body and the group allegedly stole his phone.
"What hurt the most and when I got the most scared is when one of them said, ’Do you want to die?’" Fox said.
Both Fox and Scardino say that it saddens them that the attackers were so young and agree that society needs to work on educating youth, especially when it comes to LGBT issues.
"It’s not just a Cleveland problem. It’s all over," Fox said according to the Daily News.
"By teaching kids that homosexuality is wrong, they are promoting hate," Scardino said. "Let’s teach them diversity! Let’s teach them how to behave, that it’s okay to be a different color, race or religion."
After the attacks, Cleveland’s director of public safety Martin L. Flask, released a statement and said he will work with the mayor’s office to minimize hate crimes.
"Hate crimes do not and should not define Cleveland as a community, and one of Cleveland’s greatest assets is its racial, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity," the statement reads.