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In the latest
edition of the Portland Phoenix, which is on the streets now, we tell you about
a hate crime that happened at 12:30 am on Saturday morning on Cumberland
Avenue. (I'll post the link shortly.)
police held a press conference this morning on the matter, giving official
commentary that will trigger reports in the other local media. (At least two
media outlets knew about the hate crime on Monday, and published nothing about
a violent attack whose perpetrators are still on the loose - not until
receiving a statement from a government official.)
Now that the
police are commenting, we at the Phoenix do know a little bit more than we
learned over the course of the past two days.
Malloch says there is at present no other connection to recent violent crimes,
including the fatal shooting of a Mercy Hospital security guard the morning
after this hate crime, or the still-unsolved death of Edward Okeny (see
"Who Killed Edward Okeny?" by Rick Wormwood, December 5, 2007) elsewhere
on Cumberland Avenue a few months back.
The police do not
think the attackers had any weapons, meaning the beating was administered by
hand. The victim was hit in the head at least once, with enough force to make
him fall to the ground. Police are not sure if he was hit any more than the
The victim was
not robbed, and robbery does not appear to have motivated the attack. Instead,
"the motivation for this assault appears to be nothing more than the
appearance of the individual," Malloch said at the press conference.
were assisted in their getaway by the driver of a late-model white sedan with
"fancy chrome wheels," according to a written statement distributed
at the event.
Police are searching for that car - no license-plate number is
known - and for the attackers, who are described as two men in their early 20s.
"One is a black male, 5'6" to 5'10", with a muscular build and
shaved head or very short hair. He is thought to be the primary
aggressor," according to the written statement. "The other individual
is a white male, thin build with long brown hair."
information can contact the Portland police at 207.874.8604 or through the citizen-input form at
reports of hate crimes in Portland are on the decline, and there are no others
under investigation by Portland police at present.
Also speaking at
the event was Merrie Cartwright, a friend of the victim whom we quoted in our
earlier story. She specifically
warned the city's gay and lesbian community to "please be vigilant for
your own safety" in the wake of this attack, saying "Portland is not
as safe as many of us thought."
She said the
bleeding in the victim's brain appeared to have stopped as of yesterday, when
he visited a neurologist, but he still faces a long recovery time, during at
least some of which he will be unable to work.
beseeched the attackers, who she said "must have a past filled with hate
and violence," to turn themselves in.
In addition to
visiting HealPortland.com, a Web site set up by the victim's friends, concerned
people who want to donate money or other help can contact the Center for
Prevention of Hate Violence or EqualityMaine.
-with additional reporting by Deirdre Fulton