Hate Crime Attack Happens Against Two Gay Men Visiting The Folsom Street Fair
Neil Frias and Jeff White, (pictured above) were in town from New York City to attend the Folsom Street Fair the world famous leather-themed street party in San Francisco’s Fillmore district. The last thing that they thought would happen is that they would be come victims of a hate crime in one of, if not the most gay friendly cities in America.
“The thing that was the most remarkable about the situation is how unprovoked it was,” White told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was literally tying my shoe when they came at me. It’s mind-boggling.”
At 7:30 p.m., Frias was inside a McDonalds restaurant at the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Fillmore Street while Jeff White waited outside. Two men in a blue minivan began yelling homophobic slurs at White,
They were saying, ‘You fags are destroying family values,’” Frias who came out of the restaurant when it happened.. “I said I didn’t want any trouble, and one of them got out of the van.”
Frias saw three more men jump out of the minivan to join their friends. That’s when the five assailants attacked, police said, yelling more epithets and pepper-spraying both men.
” I thought he was going to take a swing at me, but he sprayed me across the face,” Frias said, who posted on Facebook that he “was blind for about three hours.”
White assumed the fetal position on the sidewalk to protect his face, crawling into a ball. “I was completely vulnerable,” he said. “I thought they were going to start beating me.”
Wben a woman who witnessed the attack shouted that she was calling police, the five men got back into the minivan and sped away. Both police and paramedics rushed to the scene, and attended to Frias and White, who went back to their hotel and have since recovered.
It was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Frias. “To think that people have so much hatred inside of them to target people.”
Police say the Special Investigations Division, which handles hate crime investigations, will be leading the search for the attackers, and hopes surveillance video from area businesses might aid in that investigation.