A 30-year-old gay man who was assaulted on Christmas eve in Baltimore says he believes the attack was an antigay hate crime.
Kenni Shaw was walking home from a liquor store in his East Baltimore neighborhood around 9 p.m. on December 24 when a stranger began punching him in the head, Shaw told The Baltimore Sun. While one man initiated the attack, four others quickly joined in, according to Shaw.
"I was pinned down by punches," Shaw told The Sun. "I was just beaten in my face. Nothing was taken. No words were exchanged before the incident."
Police are investigating the assault and told The Sun they have "some good leads in the case," but have not yet determined a motive.
Shaw is clear that he believes he was targeted because he is gay, and as a 6-foot-tall man of color with dyed blonde hair who works as a cosmetologist and hairstylist, said he has often noticed other "tough men" in the neighborhood muttering underhanded comments about not wanting "faggots living on the block," according to The Sun.
Shaw told The Sun that Baltimore police have been receptive to his claims that he was attacked out of antigay bias, but he still wants justice.
"It makes me angry and upset, but at the same time, I am here and I made it through," Shaw told The Sun. "I just want to stand and make sure I have a voice, so this doesn't happen again to a loved one or anyone."
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