Gay D.C. Couple Attacked in Alleged Hate Crime
Washington, D.C., police are investigating the brutal attack on a gay couple as a hate crime, Fox 5 WTTG reported.
Michael Joel Hall and his boyfriend Michael Roike were beaten by a group of men when they returned home from a restaurant opening, after midnight on Sunday. They were dropped off by car service just two blocks away from their apartment in Northeastern D.C.
Mike Graglia, a friend of the couple, told the Fox station "four or five kids started attacking them. They started with Michael Hall," he said. "He went down and the other Michael screamed for help." A woman and her boyfriend eventually tended to the men and got them to safety, NBC Washington reported.
Hall, a 29-year-old yoga instructor, was brutally beaten and suffered a broken jaw and other facial damages. Roike was also attacked but his injuries were less severe.
Roike spoke about the incident and also told NBC Washington that he and his partner were assaulted by four or five youths, only identified as being black.
"I can't think of another reason other than we got out of a fancy town car and we were walking in a not great part of town at a late hour," Roike said. "We were probably holding hands. It could have been because we're gay, but I don't know for sure."
The attackers did however, take one of the men's cell phones, Fox points out.
The couple's friends have setup a Facebook page and PayPal account and are holding a fundraiser to help cover medical bills the men have racked up. Friends also told Fox Hall's apartment was recently destroyed in a fire and he has no health insurance.
Police have do not have any suspects at this time.