Man seriously injured in possible hate crime

Published: Jun. 7, 2015 at 12:59 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2015 at 12:59 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville police are investigating an assault outside of a club.

The victim, a gay man, calls the assault a hate crime.

He told police the incident happened in downtown Huntsville Friday night. He says he was beaten so badly he doesn't even remember how he got to the hospital.

A third party sent us pictures of the victim in his hospital bed that show serious injuries.

However, the victim reached out and is asking us not to air them. We are choosing to respect his privacy.

"The community is outraged," said gay rights activist James Robinson, who says the man was targeted because of his sexual orientation. "He was told a few more hits, and he would have been brain dead."

Robinson says the man wishes to stay anonymous because he fears discrimination.

He says the man left a downtown-area club around 2 a.m. Friday with a friend when he was approached a group of men who started verbally harassing him.

"He told me after that first punch, he doesn't remember what happened," Robinson said.

The man does, however, remember waking up at Huntsville Hospital. Robinson said the man has suffered several broken bones in his face which will require plastic surgery.

Robinson said police are labeling the incident a second-degree assault. He said it should be attempted murder.

"This person was nearly killed; this is pushing something under the rug like it isn't a serious incident," Robinson said, who added that there have been no arrests made at this time.

"This is not the Huntsville we are trying to promote across the country," he said. "My message is for Huntsville: Stand up for what's right. Mayor Tommy Battle and the city government: Protect our people in this city."

We have reached out to the Huntsville Police Department for information about this incident, but did not return our calls or emails Saturday.

For more information on how you can assist victims of violence against LGBT people, click here.

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