By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2013 7:41 PM ET
What's worse — the fact that Wisconsin won't charge a man with a hate crime after he screamed an antigay slur at an Applebee's employee before beating him over the head with a piece of lumber, or that Applebee's continues to employ the suspect's wife even though she drove her husband to the crime scene and watched as her coworker was rendered unconscious?
Applebee's server Timothy Phares was brutally beaten March 17, and a witness backs up that it was Rien Hendricks who got out of a car and hit him with a 2-by-4 piece of wood, knocking him out; Phares will need metal plates inserted into his face to ensure proper healing.
As Hendricks was getting out of his vehicle, he said, "Fucking faggot, I’m going to kill you," according to Phares. After the attack, Hendricks was taken into custody and "charged with substantial battery intended to inflict bodily harm, a Class 1 felony. He faces a $10,000 fine and a much as three and a half years in prison," according to the Wisconsin Gazette. Even with Hendricks yelling the slur, Barron County district attorney Angela Beranek says there is not enough evidence to charge him with hate-crime enhancements.
Management at the Applebee's restaurant where Phares works with Hendricks's wife later told Phares he shouldn't return to his job because of the publicity. Greg Flynn, CEO of Apple American Group franchise, intervened on his behalf and reversed the firing. Phares's appreciation was short-lived, as Applebee's refused to remove antigay slurs from its Facebook page or fire Shannon Hendricks, the wife of the suspect.
The attack allegedly stemmed from an earlier incident that took place when Phares and his sister attended a party at the Hendrickses' home. Read more here.