Gay Man Punched in D.C. Safeway, Employees Allegedly Helped Attacker Leave

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com July 08 2014 1:30 PM ET

A so-far-unidentified woman was caught punching a gay man and calling him a slur on camera at a Safeway grocery store in Washington, D.C., last week, and employees allegedly helped the attacker get away.

The man who was assaulted Wednesday told the Washington Blade that he believes the woman was associated with a local gang, and he feared for his safety.

The man said the altercation began when he approached a customer service line and saw that the woman was standing near it, but not specifically on the line. He asked whether she was in the line, and when she only expressed an angry look without verbal confirmation, he asked again. She responded again with an angry expression instead of saying whether she was also in line. Seconds later, the man said, she backed her shoulder into him, turned around, and then punched him in the face while calling him a faggot.

“I grabbed her dreads and I pulled her dreads down onto the floor and I restrained her in that position while she was continuing to try to punch my face but my reach was too far,” he told the Blade. “And I’m screaming for security and for them to call the police. All of the people on the line and working at the registers were frozen."

Security guards and an assistant manager approached and demanded that he let go of her hair. They then escorted the woman out of the store, allowing her to leave the scene.

A spokesman for Safeway told the Blade that at least one employee tried to contact police, despite a worker telling the victim that no one called emergency services. The victim said he went across the street to a police station to find it locked before flagging down a police officer in a patrol car for help. 

He said he was treated appropriately by three of the four officers who responded to the scene, but one officer who took the report, Michael L. Shipman Meyer of the First District, acted in a hostile manner. The man, who said he did not want to be identified, said he filed a complaint against Shipman and the department for his behavior.

Surveillance footage of the attack was posted on YouTube, and police are asking the public to help identify the woman.