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LA Gay Chorus Member Assaulted in Palm Springs in Possible Hate Crime

Justin Wicker

Palm Springs police are investigating the assault of a California man who was left in critical condition after an altercation, which the man’s friend says should be considered a hate crime.

Justin Wicker, a member of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, suffered head and neck injuries Thursday after he and his friend, Timothy Carl, left a comedy club in Palm Springs, Calif., and went to karaoke. According to a GoFundMe set up to help with his medical expenses, Wicker is now stable and responsive.

On social media, the Palm Springs police wrote that Wicker and Carl had left the bar and eventually spoke with a man in a car. Wicker told the man that he looked like the comedian and actor Eddie Murphy. The man allegedly became angry and chased Wicker.

Authorities said Wicker fell while running and struck his head. Because Wicker was running from the man, police wrote they are investigating the attack as an assault and battery. The man ran from the scene while the Wicker was carried to the hospital.

“We have seen social media rumors indicating this incident was a targeted hate crime. At this time, there is no reported information or evidence to suggest a hate crime occurred,” the police department wrote on Facebook.

However, Carl disagrees and says the alleged attacker punched Wicker and pushed him off a small staircase.  

"There's no question in my mind that this was motivated by hate," Carl told local media outlet The Desert Sun. Carl said the man yelled homophobic slurs during the attack.

Carl said he tried to intervene, but the man went around him to attack Wicker. Another man who was with the alleged attacker attempted to intervene but didn’t succeed.

“This wouldn't have happened to a straight couple," Carl said. "It's a shame that this happened in one of America's gay meccas. People live and retire here so they can be safe.”

Tags: News, Hate Crimes

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