Two men leaving the Utah Pride Festival Saturday night were chased by a group of 10 to 15 young men who were allegedly yelling anti-gay slurs and threats of death. A reward is being offered for information leading to their arrest and conviction since few leads are available.
One of the victims spoke with QSaltLake, asking that his name not be used in the story. He said that he, his husband and two male friends had left the festival Saturday night.
“We had left the [Utah Pride] Festival and we went to Stoneground Kitchen to get some food,” he said. “We left through the back entrance and our server was back there. She was upset because a group of guys had been harassing a homeless woman.”
The man’s husband walked toward the group to see what was going on, and the guys started yelling, “What are you looking at, you fucking faggot?”
He said the taunting began to escalate, so the four decided to leave.
“As soon as we turned around, the homophobic slurs continued and they said that they were going to kill us,” he said. “We ran down the alley to Doki Doki, which is on the main floor below the restaurant. One of my friends said, ‘you probably want to lock the door, we are seeking safety.'”
Doki Doki worker Terrance Mannery went to lock the door, but one of the guys had made it into the vestibule by that time.
“He just started pounding on him,” he said.
Several people called 911.
“It felt like it took forever, but it was over pretty quick,” he said.
Mannery sustained bruises and a cut to his face as he tried to keep the attackers out of the shop to protect the intended victims.
“They said they were being followed and as I looked outside I could see a group of people making faces and a gentleman was attempting to come in,” Mannery told Fox 13 News. “I stepped forward and was pretty much like, ‘no you’re not coming into the store and causing trouble.'”
Mannery said the fight was then directed toward him, as the group tried to pull him out of the shop.
“Punches and stuff. No weapons, no kicking. Just punches and they seemed like they were trying to pull me out but that kind of worked to my advantage because I wanted them out of the store,” Mannery told Fox 13.
The altercation scared a Lyft driver, who witnessed the attack.
“I have never been so scared in my life,” Ross Rogers posted on a Facebook driver forum. “Last night I witnessed a hate crime right next to my car while I was waiting for my Lyft customer. About 15 strong, muscular guys came running down the alley and started to push these other guys around. Another African American guy [Mannery] came running from the store and tried to break it up and then became the focus of the 15 jerks.”
Rogers said they attackers threw punches at Mannery and broke the door to the shop.
“Then the 15 jerks ran back down the alley and were gone,” he continued. “The original guys were my customers. They were all gay and had just come from the Pride Festival. They were very shaken up. I took them home and then pulled around the corner from their house and cried. I was shaking so bad because it scared the sh*t out of me just seeing it.”
Michelle Turpin, a lawyer and major donor to Utah Pride, was also leaving the Festival grounds and witness the attack. She said that the assailants were “clean cut, blond-haired, blue-eyed typical Utah 20-year-old boys.”
Doki Doki appealed to the community to help send the assailants to justice.
“Tonight, a brave team member of Doki Doki was assaulted while trying to protect a group of frightened people who were seeking shelter inside the store. The police are now involved and the investigation is active,” a shop representative posted on their Facebook wall. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get a clear description of the perpetrators and other information such as the direction where they took off after the assault. If anyone has any information regarding this incident or any descriptions of those perpetrators, please contact us or the police. Please help us bring these bad members of the society to justice. Thank you.”
The Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is also asking the community for help, and offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.”
“UGLCC’s anti-violence fund was created to provide the victims of homophobic or transphobic crimes and to provide resources for the prosecution of perpetrators of such crimes,” said Tracey Dean, chair of the organization.
Many LGBT community members are frequenting Doki Doki in appreciation of their employee’s reaction to the attack.
Reaction to social media postings of the assault are being met with surprise by LGBT Salt Lakers, who say these kind of attacks should be long gone these days.
The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. near 250 East and Fourth South on Saturday night, June 2. Anyone with information is being asked to call the Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000.
This story was updated at noon on Wednesday to include the account of one of the four men being chased.