Karen Ocamb

Hate Crimes Reported in Hollywood

Filed By Karen Ocamb | July 05, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-gay violence, Anti-Violence Project, fucking faggot, hate crimes against LGBT people, Hollywood, LGBT hate crimes, Los Angeles

Dominic Montelongo was shaking when he told his story to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at a recent police forum at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center.  Between 1:30-1:45 a.m. on April 20 after leaving Mr. Black, a club at Bardot on the second floor of The Avalon on Vine St, just north of Hollywood Blvd., no_hateMontelongo said three people "ambushed" him from behind, knocked him down twice, continually calling him a "fucking faggot" while they beat him. They finally knocked him out with a "blunt object."

Montelongo suffered a fractured skull and to his eye socket, a split lip, a torn ear and heavy bruising on his face, skull, neck, back and arms. He walked home in shock, with no help from anyone. The next day, he went to the ER after realizing how badly he was hurt. It was then that the police were called and were "very helpful," although he was unable to describe his assailants' faces. He was unable to work for two and a half weeks but nonetheless, he felt "comparatively lucky."

Beck and the LAPD officers at that June 15 forum were "shocked" to hear his story and "looked grim," Montelongo's partner Andrew Ableson says. They had just finished talking about how there were more "feet on the street" and violent crimes had gone down since January.

Ableson spoke up too, saying that he knew of two other people who were recently beaten up in the same area and "if I personally know of three people - there has to be more."

Dominic Montelongo was shaking when he told his story to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at a recent police forum at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center.  Between 1:30-1:45 a.m. on April 20 after leaving Mr. Black, a club at Bardot on the second floor of The Avalon on Vine St, just north of Hollywood Blvd.,  Montelongo said three people "ambushed" him from behind, knocked him down twice, continually calling him a "fucking faggot" while they beat him. They finally knocked him out with a "blunt object."

Montelongo suffered a fractured skull and to his eye socket, a split lip, a torn ear and heavy bruising on his face, skull, neck, back and arms. He walked home in shock, with no help from anyone. The next day, he went to the ER after realizing how badly he was hurt. It was then that the police were called and were "very helpful," although he was unable to describe his assailants' faces. He was unable to work for two and a half weeks but nonetheless, he felt "comparatively lucky."

Beck and the LAPD officers at that June 15 forum were "shocked" to hear his story and "looked grim," Montelongo's partner Andrew Ableson says. They had just finished talking about how there were more "feet on the street" and violent crimes had gone down since January.

Ableson spoke up too, saying that he knew of two other people who were recently beaten up in the same area and "if I personally know of three people - there has to be more."

One of those alleged victims who was notified about the police forum but didn't attend was a woman who Ableson says was beaten up in Hollywood recently by a group of women "because she appeared rather masculine. She had all her personal possessions stolen by the group."

"After it happened, four of my friends told me they had also been attacked," Montelongo told Frontiers In LA. "It really happens more than you think ? people just don't talk about it."

Another apparent victim, who asked that his name not be used, told Frontiers that he was walking on Cherokee Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard in early June when three men started harassing him on Cherokee, near the Geisha House, a very busy area just off Hollywood Blvd..

"They said, 'Oh damn girl, you looks so good,' " the gay man said. "They kept talking and I was thinking, 'Oh no,' and I just turned to them and said, 'I'm a guy.' " One of the alleged assailants then grabbed him and held his arms behind his back while another struck him in the face repeatedly.

"He knocked me out and knocked out half of my front tooth, and while I was passed out, they took me and threw me in the street," the gay man said. He stumbled about 50 yards to a police mini-station, only to find it closed. When he went in the next day, he says he was discouraged from filing a report.

Both gay men were surprised to have encountered what they consider antigay hate attacks in Hollywood. "I was born in raised in Los Angeles and I thought this was my town," Montelongo says. "I felt comfortable walking home from any event."

Ableson notes that the attack on Montelongo happened right near the famous Pantages theatre and the new W Hotel, which, as a brand new development, has been heavily advertising to a wide range of people, including internationally. "They should have an increased police presence if anyone can get beaten up there," Ableson says, adding that the police said at the forum that they are aware of gangs of pick-pockets and muggers who have "jumped" people around Hollywood and Vine.

Beck told LAPD Capt. Bea Girmala of the Hollywood Division to follow up on the incidents and Abelson says that Montelongo has since spoken with her and other officers, though police have had no luck finding any suspects.

"There have been a few instances recently that could be possible hate crimes people have approached us about," said Stevie St. John, communications manager at the Center. However, "there hasn't been a spike or major statistic anomaly," she says. "These instances are fairly normal during Pride month where the community is more visible."

Overall, hate crimes in Los Angeles declined 4 percent from 763 in 2007, to 729 in 2008, according to the most recent L.A. County Hate Crime Report. While race-related hate crimes are the most common, sexual orientation-motivated crimes remained the second-largest group at 18 percent and were the most likely to be of a violent nature (73 percent), according to the report released in November. Gay men were the targets in 81 percent of homophobic crimes.

The Center's Anti-Violence Project offers several services for victims, including counseling, documenting and reporting of hate crimes, attorney consultations and accompaniment to court.

"We encourage victims to come to the Center for support and information and help with how to file a police reports and so we can appropriately track hate crimes," St. John said.

Though telling his story at the forum was "traumatic" for Dominic Montelongo, it was also cathartic. "I understand now that I can do something good by speaking up," he says, "and I feel better."

Anyone with information on either attack is encouraged to contact police at (213) 972-2971.

-Jamie Wetherbe contributed to this story.


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Like many large cities, this one transforms by nightfall. I can't go to my ATM at Hollywood and Sycamore without fighting through the dense packs of tourists. By day you actually feel pretty safe - a lot of people around, you can be dressed as anything and no one blinks an eye. I walk Hollywood everyday to go to classes at Musicians Institute at Hollywood and McCadden. If I'm dressed for a show or workshop, that probably means putting my 6'2" transgirl self in one of my goth-metal black outfits and platform boots.

And by day, that means nothing. By night, walking the short trip from the Sunset bus stop up Highland to my home, I'm frightened. Numerous times on this route, at this time, I'm asked how much I charge for my "services." I pray they don't clock me. I know the dire consequences if they do.

It's unfortunate that in 2010 we have these problems. I hope that others, especially those living here, keep that in mind and play it safe. This is just what I've learned since I moved here 4 months ago. It sinks in faster than that.