News » Local

Man injured in assault at gay club

by John Wright
Sunday March 2, 2008

A local gay man claims he was the victim of a hate crime at Station 4 on Friday, Feb. 22.

Sid Gonzales, 43, said he suffered two broken bones in his wrist, a puncture wound to his hand and multiple bruises on his backside when two men assaulted him at about 11 p.m.

Gonzales said he was near the main dance floor of the Dallas gay nightclub when two men and a woman walked over and stood nearby.

Gonzales said he was "a little buzzed" from alcohol but not intoxicated.

He said he tried to be friendly and make small talk with the trio. But he said he was not trying to hit on the men, whom he described as straight-looking, well-dressed and college-aged.

When Gonzales asked a few questions, the woman responded but the men said nothing and looked uncomfortable, he said.

Gonzales said he reached out to shake hands with one of the men. The man grabbed Gonzales' arm, twisted it in the air and slammed it against a knee. Gonzales said the first man also stabbed him in the hand with an unidentified object, while the second began kicking him in the backside.

"I think it was a hate crime," Gonzales said. "They weren't there to have fun. They were there to pick fights with queers."

Gonzales said he notified a bartender and front desk staff about the incident but left S4 and returned home after unsuccessfully trying to locate security. He later sent an e-mail to management at Caven Enterprises, which owns S4, complaining about the incident.

"I think it's a shame that regular customers like me can't feel comfortable in a gay bar any more," Gonzales said in the e-mail. "I won't be returning to Station 4 for a while."

Rick Espaillat, a spokesman for Caven Enterprises, said Gonzales was unable to locate security because officers were busy responding to several incidents that occurred around the same time.

Espaillat said at least one of the other incidents involved the same three suspects, who were subsequently kicked out of the club. Espaillat said he could not give details about the other incident and was unsure whether Caven obtained any identifying information from the suspects.

"Caven Enterprises has invested a great deal of time, energy and money on security in and around our properties, and we take this issue very seriously," Espaillat said in a written statement. "We are in contact with Mr. Gonzales and we're working with him to insure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again."

Gonzales said when he awoke the following day, his hand and wrist were swollen and in pain.

On Monday, Feb. 25, he went to the doctor and learned that his wrist was broken in two places. He is expected to be in a cast for four weeks.

Gonzales filed a report with the Dallas Police Department, which classified the incident as an aggravated assault.

Cpl. Kevin Janse, a DPD spokesman, said Tuesday, Feb. 26, that the case had not yet been assigned to a detective.

Janse said if there is an arrest, the detective could make a recommendation to the district attorney's office about whether the case should be prosecuted as a hate crime.

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