A gay man is recovering from having his head beaten with a baseball bat by a man who allegedly said he hated gay people, reports Atlanta's WSB-TV.
Adrian "Dre" Wilson, 44, required 13 stitches at a local hospital after the attack May 31.
He spoke to the media this week about his ordeal, which he says started when he recorded a short video of his neighbor Denzale Johnson on his phone. He explained in a YouTube video that he enjoys recording men seen in public with their pants sagging low and posts those videos on his YouTube channel.
He said when Johnson spotted him recording, he went inside his apartment, then returned for what Wilson thought might be a confrontation — but that Johnson simply asked for help changing a flat tire on his car.
Wilson said he offered to repair the damaged tire for money rather than replace it with a new one. Johnson then allegedly asked Wilson how much he would charge for the fix. Wilson said he quoted $10, but Johnson said he didn't have that much money. That's when Wilson made a joke.
"You already gave me a free peep show," Wilson told Johnson, telling WSB he was referring to how Johnson's pants sagged below his waist, exposing his underwear. "So I'll go ahead and do it for free." Johnson apparently didn't take well to the comment.
"During the time when I was fixing the tire he kept asking me what did I mean by the 'peep show,' and I kept telling him don't worry about it," Wilson told police, according to records obtained by Atlanta LGBT newspaper Project Q. "I finally told him I was joking about it and told him not to worry about it." But Johnson wouldn't let it go.
"He asked me if I'm straight and I said, 'No, I'm gay," Wilson recalled to WSB. "He went off telling me he wasn't gay, he was straight, he hated gay people." Wilson said he apologized for "coming at" Johnson, according to the police report.
But when he then collected his tools from his own car and turned around to leave, Johnson began hitting him in the head with a baseball bat.
Wilson said he fell and was hit again in the shoulder. "I realized he was going to keep hitting me until I did something," said Wilson. He grabbed a jack handle from his vehicle to defend himself, and that's when Wilson said Johnson ran off. He has not been seen in the neighborhood or at his car washing job since.
Wilson told WSB it's clear the attack was motivated by homophobic hatred. "He said he hates gay people. I'm gay and, hell, he hit me with a bat, so apparently he hated something about me." He insists that no matter whether some of his neighbors claim he "came on to" Johnson — "I don't think I [did]," he said in his video, "of course, straight people will swear straight up and down I [did]" — the most important event was Johnson's alleged violent overreaction.
"Everyone just thought it was brothers in the hood fighting. That's the impression I got," Wilson added in the police report, explaining why no passersby intervened. "This wasn't an argument. I guess the guy had some issues so he's kind of sensitive. ... I've been openly gay since I was 21 or 22 and have never had anyone react like that."
He also explained in a second YouTube video yesterday that he believes the story of his assault did not make headlines until three weeks after the attack because white readers are not interested in news about "two black guys."
Fulton County police told WSB that they agree that Wilson's sexual orientation motivated the crime, at least in part — but they cannot file hate crime charges because Georgia remains one of only five states that has no hate crime legislation, after taking their law off the books in 2004.
"They need to change that," said Wilson. "This guy, I don't think he belongs in society."
Police are currently searching for Wilson, who faces aggravated assault charges.
Watch Wilson describe his ordeal in the WSB-TV report and personal YouTube videos below.