Police in Boston have opened an investigation into a violent attack on three patrons outside a gay bar on Saturday night. Law enforcement officials speculate that the attack could constitute a hate crime.
The three victims, who have not been identified publicly, claim they had left Jacque’s Cabaret late Saturday evening when a nearby group began shouting homophobic slurs at them. The club is a popular karaoke and drag bar which caters to a queer clientele.
“The group was shouting homophobic slurs while they punched and kicked one of the victims on the ground before putting him into a chokehold,” the group said via a statement. “The victims will be pursuing this as a homophobic hate crime. What we were always scared of happening to us has finally happened.”
Community organizers see the attack as part of a pattern of crimes against the queer community. They also note they have increased in number in recent years. “We are very concerned when we hear about incidents of violence such as what happened Saturday night outside of Jacques,” said Chris Erchull, of LGBTQ Advocates and Defenders, “especially because of the sudden and violent nature of the attack.”
Police have said that while they consider the attack an isolated incident, they do not consider it random. The incident in Boston is just the latest in a spree of crimes of vandalism and harassment against queer people in the years since Donald Trump took office.