Another attack on a gay man in Scottsdale on Nov. 17, the third reported in a year, highlights the need for laws protecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered in the city, gay rights group Equality Arizona said Wednesday.
Scottsdale police are calling the attack, which included anti-gay slurs and a car window smashed by a thrown beer bottle, a “bias-motivated incident.”
If it had risen to the level of a felony, police likely would have called it a hate crime, said Scottsdale police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark.
No one was injured in the incident.
According to police reports, around 1 a.m. Nov. 17, James Randall Walker, 23, shouted anti-gay epithets at Christion Todd Smalley, 25, and Smalley’s friend as the pair were leaving gay-friendly nightclub BS West, 7125 E. Fifth Ave., in the downtown. Walker then smashed the windshield of Smalley’s Mitsubishi 3000 GT with a beer bottle, reports show.
Police arrested Walker on misdemeanor charges of criminal damage and disorderly conduct, but let his two friends go. Walker and his friends denied involvement in the incident, police reports state.
Clark said the city can’t arrest people for hate crimes in misdemeanors.
“He was really super intoxicated,” Clark said of Walker.
The city’s first attack in the past 12 months was on two gay men outside a south Scottsdale steakhouse last December. The second was on a gay man outside BS West in July.
The previous attacks, along with dissatisfaction over a watered-down Scottsdale proclamation originally meant to honor contributions of gays and a now-resolved ban on transgendered patrons from another downtown nightclub, have prompted some gay-rights activists to suggest that Scottsdale is hostile to them.
The City Council on Dec. 4 is due to consider adding protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered city employees, and will discuss passing a law banning businesses in Scottsdale from discriminating against those groups, as well as prohibiting the city from contracting with companies that violate city anti-discrimination policies.
Holdren said he applauds Scottsdale police for labeling the latest incident as bias-motivated.
It bolsters the case for the proposed anti-discrimination laws, he said.