Po­lice can’t ver­ify re­cent lo­cal ‘hate crime’ claims

Les­bians in Pride at­tack started fight; At­lantic Sta­tion al­leged vic­tim still mum

GA Voice - - News - By Dyana Bagby dbagby@the­gavoice.com

When two les­bians told a lo­cal TV sta­tion they were at­tacked over At­lanta Pride week­end be­cause they were gay, peo­ple re­acted with shock and em­pa­thy.

How could some­thing so aw­ful hap­pen in At­lanta, much less dur­ing Pride week­end?

But when the Ful­ton County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment re­leased its report on the in­ci­dent that hap­pened at about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 13 in front of the W Ho­tel in Mid­town, it raised ques­tions about whether the two women told the whole story when they spoke to Fox 5 re­porter Kait­lyn Pratt be­fore the report was re­leased.

Les­bian cou­ple Kathryn Katal­inich and Brooke Creef told Fox 5 they were called an anti-gay slur and pushed to the ground by men who also laughed at them.

“It’s just ridicu­lous there is so much hate,” a tear­ful Katal­inch told Fox 5 in a report that was broad­cast Oct. 13 and posted to the Fox 5 web­site Oct. 14.

The cou­ple told Fox 5 that “words were ex­changed” with two men as they were get­ting into a cab. Creef said she was pushed to the ground and then Katal­inich was also pushed to the ground and her knees were scraped.

The news report did not in­clude any in­for­ma­tion from po­lice, just the words of the women who said what hap­pened to them was a hate crime. Pratt did not dis­cuss what a hate crime is but stressed the an­gle that the crime co­in­cided with the gayest week­end in At­lanta.

Les­bians started al­ter­ca­tion

On Oct. 15, how­ever, the Ful­ton County Sher­iff Deputy who was work­ing a sec­ondary job as se­cu­rity at the W Ho­tel fin­ished the report on the in­ci­dent and it was re­leased to the pub­lic.

The report stated the les­bian cou­ple was in­tox­i­cated and in­sti­gated the fight by call­ing an Asian woman a “strip­per” among other things. Af­ter the les­bians called the Asian woman a strip­per, she and her two black male friends re­torted by call­ing Katal­inich and Creef “dykes,” the report stated.

The Ful­ton County sher­iff’s deputy, B. Pride, was work­ing at the ho­tel when he was asked for as­sis­tance to break up a fight on the out­door pa­tio, ac­cord­ing to the report. Some in­volved in the in­ci­dent had fled the scene but the deputy in­ter­viewed the two women, Katal­inich and Creef, both of At­lanta, who said they were beaten up.

“Ms. Creef stated stated to me that the in­ci­dent started as a re­sult of her di­rect­ing sev­eral com­ments to­wards the Asian fe­male, dur­ing which she re­ferred to her as a ‘strip­per’ and made neg­a­tive com­ments about the way she was dressed,” ac­cord­ing to the report.

“The Asian fe­male ut­tered, ‘You look like a dike (sic).’ Both par­ties then en­gaged in a ver­bal con­fronta­tion yelling var­i­ous neg­a­tive ep­i­thets at each other. Ms. Creef al­leged that Ms. Kata­lalinich ap­proached the op­pos­ing party at which point one of the males pushed her down to the ground,” the report states.

The report fur­ther states Katal­inich and Creef “ap­peared to be mod­er­ately in­tox­i­cated.” Both said they had been drink­ing at a party at the ho­tel, ac­cord­ing to the report.

Emails to the Fox 5 re­porter Kait­lyn Pratt were not re­turned for com­ment. At­tempts to reach Katal­inich by phone and email were also un­suc­cess­ful.

“From news re­ports, it sounds like th­ese women may have been vic­tims of bat­ter­ies. The ob­vi­ous prob­lem with call­ing your­self the vic­tim of a crime, though, if you are the one who started it, is that you weren’t tar­geted due to your ‘sus­pect class,’ in this case your ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity,” said At­lanta gay at­tor­ney Chris­tine Koehler.

“If news re­ports are cor­rect, you drew at­ten­tion to your­self when you re­ferred to a woman as a strip­per based on her at­tire. It is un­for­tu­nate that a ver­bal al­ter­ca­tion would dis­in­te­grate in to name call­ing such as ‘dyke,’” Koehler added.

The Ful­ton County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment has turned over the case to the At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment.

“This is not be­ing viewed as a bias crime, at present, by APD,” said spokesper­son Car­los Cam­pos. “The report from the Ful­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice seemed to in­di­cate there was an ex­change of words be­tween two par­ties that led to an al­ter­ca­tion.

“The in­for­ma­tion we were pro­vided from the report in­di­cates that the al­ter­ca­tion did not seem to re­sult from the sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion of the com­plainants. We have spo­ken with the com­plainants,” Cam­pos said. “We are not in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent fur­ther.”

At­lantic Sta­tion in­ci­dent still in ques­tion

The At­lanta Pride in­ci­dent fol­lows an­other al­leged gay bash­ing that oc­curred in At­lantic Sta­tion on Aug. 4. In that in­ci­dent, John Mark Parker of De­catur was on the way to a party be­ing thrown by LGBT mag­a­zine Fenuxe when he said he was punched in the face by a man af­ter the man asked if he was gay and he an­swered yes.

Parker was taken to the hospi­tal and re­ceived stitches af­ter fil­ing a pre­lim­i­nary po­lice report.

But since Aug. 4, At­lanta po­lice have been un­able to reach Parker to fol­low up on the in­ci­dent — Parker has not re­turned phone calls, emails and not been avail­able when vis­its were made to his home, ac­cord­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tor with the APD’s in­ter­nal af­fairs de­part­ment.

Alarming the com­mu­nity by re­port­ing a hate crime but then not fol­low­ing through — or worse, call­ing your­self the vic­tim of a crime when you started the whole al­ter­ca­tion — is the “boy who cried wolf sce­nario.”

“It has the po­ten­tial to di­min­ish real, valid claims made by true vic­tims of hate crimes,” Koehler said.

Kathryn Katal­inich (left) and her girl­friend, Brooke Creef, said they were at­tacked in a hate crime over At­lanta Pride week­end. A po­lice report, how­ever, sug­gests the cou­ple in­sti­gated the fight. (Scheen­shot via Fox 5)

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