A witness that watched last week’s brutal gay-bashing in Philadelphia unfold from his third-story apartment window spoke with the media for the first time Thursday, offering even more horrific details about the ambush that put two gay boyfriends in the hospital.
Giving his first-person account to G Philly, Geoff Nagle says it was “girls screaming” that got him off the couch and over to his window. He lives on the corner of 16th & Chancellor where the attack occurred, and was perhaps the first person to call 911.
We’ve previously reported that the victims, 26 and 28-year-old boyfriends, were walking to dinner in Center City last Thursday night when a gang of 12 “well dressed” heterosexuals began taunting them with gay slurs. The confrontation led to a violent brawl between the victims and eight members of the group, two men and six women.
The victims suffered multiple facial fractures and one is now required to have his jaw wired shut for two months. On Wednesday, the archdiocese of Philadelphia announced he had fired an employee for his involvement in the attack, following a Twitter user’s swift identification of the group.
According to Nagle, the attack sounds even more terrifying than was previously reported:
What exactly did you see?
The one guy was getting very pummeled. There were some females in the middle of it. And one of the victims was in a headlock. At one point, a guy working in the FedEx shop right there started banging on the window, telling them to go away. I think he thought they were just drunk kids being loud. He probably thought nothing of it at the time.
Do you have a sense of what set this off?
It seemed to me that the two larger guys were fed up with what the other guys were saying, and one of the victims was pushing one of the women away, but just a little bit. And I could also hear some slurs like “fucking faggot” and I also heard someone say “I am sick of this fucking faggot.” If you saw the victims, they were small, not as large as the two guys. And then, it happened so quickly, one of the victims is lying unconscious, bleeding from the head. There wound up being a one- to two-foot puddle of blood where he was hit and knocked unconscious. He wasn’t moving. There was a blood stain on the ground until it rained two days later.
Nagle adds that not all 12 from the group participated in the assault, and most “went on their way…when they realized how serious it was.”
As of Wednesday, several members of the group were presumed to be former Catholic school classmates. They retained lawyers and were being questioned by police. As of today — eight days after the attack and three days after the group was identified — no arrests have been made.
Once an arrest is made (which at this point, let’s face it, will depend on how much money and cop friends the assailants’ daddies have), charges will not be hate-related because Pennsylvania law only recognizes hate crimes as “motivated by race, religion and ethnicity.”
Openly gay Representative Brian Sims, who represents the Center City district where the attack occurred, has vowed to introduce legislation that would fix the discriminatory law. Currently, there is a Change.org petition that is attempting to change the law in time to bring hate crime charges agains the assailants.
It has been reported that the assailants may be pursuing a preposterous self-defense claim. Nagle, on the other hand, believes they won’t be successful:
I don’t see how it could be self-defense. There were 12 people there. The self-defense thing is a little crazy to me. It wasn’t like a guy just threw a punch to protect himself and ran away. That’s not what happened here. There were multiple punches to the one guy’s face — on both sides of his face.
Read his full account over at G Philly.