A gay man in Washington, D.C., was beaten by neighbors in his apartment complex in what police are calling a suspected hate crime.
Antonio Zephir, 51, was subjected to slurs such as “Jewish faggot” and “bitch faggot” during the attack, the Washington Blade reports.
Zephir was walking by a woman, identified in court papers as Aurlora Y. Ellis, who was talking with his roommate, Steven Johnson, the afternoon of October 13, when she yelled “Jewish faggot” at him. “I responded with not-so-kind words. She ran towards me and assaulted me with hard punches toward my face,” Zephir told the Blade via email.
“I punched back in an attempt to defend myself,” he continued. “Mr. Johnson tried to break us up when her daughter Latera Cox and [Cox’s] father assaulted me. Ms. Ellis yelled, ‘Call the police, you bitch faggot. They’re not going to do anything. This isn’t over yet.’” The three then fled on foot, and Zephir did call the police, who are in the process of obtaining arrest warrants for the three accused attackers. The police consider the assault a suspected hate crime and are continuing to investigate.
Zephir was treated at an emergency room the next day. He had fractures to his nose and to a bone around once of his eyes, plus bleeding of his left eye and “an injury inside his mouth caused by trauma from the assault,” the Blade reports.
He said he has been harassed by Ellis previously — “For several months, every time Ms. Ellis sees me, she shouts homophobic slurs and I continued to ignore her,” he wrote in his email — and after the attack, he decided to apply for a restraining order against her and her family. Ellis has been rumored to own a gun, he said, and he believes his life may be threatened. He has also filed a civil lawsuit against Ellis, her daughter, and Ellis’s roommate, Linda Miller. Miller, he said, is an “enabler” of Ellis’s abuse toward him.
The Blade sought comment from the accused attackers and Miller but had received no response so far.