A man who reported to police that he was beaten early Sunday morning because he was gay—and identified his attackers—has admitted he made up the story.
Joseph Baken, 22, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to making a false report to law enforcement, after authorities received a video showing him trying to do a backflip off off the sidewalk and slamming his face on the curb.
Originally, Baken had told police three men had beaten him outside a local eatery at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning after he asked where to find a gay bar. “The decision to file criminal charges was due in part to the sense of fear and anger that quickly developed after Baken had identified a specific business and possible suspects in his allegations,” said Missoula Police Lt. Scott Brodie.
Reports of the the alleged attack—and photos of Baken’s badly bruised face—surfaced on Huffington Post and other sites, causing outrage in Montana’s LGBT community and calls for sexual orientation to be added to the state’s bias law.
“The city of Missoula should be proud of the way it responded, and we will continue to work toward including assaults that target Montanans based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the legal definition of hate crimes in our state,” said Montana Human Rights Network’s Jamee Greer.
Meanwhile, is nothing being done about the epidemic of homophobic sidewalks?