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Video of a Gay Man Being Assaulted Has Prompted a Police Investigation

Salt Lake City Assault

The man in the video strikes the person recording after asking him if he his gay.

Authorities in Salt Lake City, Utah, are looking for a man caught on camera assaulting another man after asking if he was gay. The video, a short eight-second clip recorded by Salt Lake City resident Sal Trejo, shows Trejo walking up to the man, who asks Trejo, "Are you gay, though?"

Trejo responds, "Oh, I am," which prompts the man in the video to say, "Oh, then you're gay."

As Trejo begins to respond, "Yeah, but you called me a [faggot]," the man strikes Trejo, who is holding the camera. According to BuzzFeed, the incident occurred outside a bar in Salt Lake City's downtown area.

In a follow-up statement on Twitter, Trejo said that the man approached Trejo and his friends making "homophobic and misogynistic" comments toward them. That's when Trejo decided to record and the man then struck Trejo. According to the note, after the incident, the group got verbally aggressive with the man, who then "pulled out a knife and pointed it" toward the group and continued to call them faggots. The man then got into a car, which Trejo identified as a 2007 BMW X5, and drove away.

"This man is dangerous and needs to be held accountable for his actions," Trejo wrote.

Salt Lake City police confirmed on Twitter that they were looking for people to contact them with any information about the man on camera. A spokesperson for the SLCPD told BuzzFeed that the incident happened around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, adding that no office has yet to be assigned to the case and Trejo has yet to be interviewed.

On social media, Utah state senator Derek Kitchen, the only out gay member of Utah's legislature, called for the Utah lawmakers to pass hate crimes legislation. The Utah legislature is currently working on updating its hate crime laws, but the debate over whether to include LGBTQ+ people in its scope has delayed the bill's passage.

Kitchen called the violence depicted "absolutely unacceptable" on his Facebook page.

"Our community must be safe from targeted violence," Kitchen wrote. "To be attacked simply for being gay violates our deepest shared values of decency and reiterates the urgency of including the LGBTQ+ community in our hate crimes law. We deserve the same protections as other minority groups that face violence based on identity."

Earlier this week, the LGBTQ+ pride flag that hangs outside Laziz Kitchen, the restaurant owned by Kitchen and his husband Moudi Sbeity, was torn overnight. Staff found the flag when coming into work Tuesday morning, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

Utah state LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Utah said it was "deeply alarmed" by the video and that they send Trejo love.

"No one should be attacked simply because of who they are," the group wrote on Twitter. "We will work with Sal and law enforcement to ensure that justice prevails."

RELATED | Op-Ed: The Vast Majority of Hate Crime Victims are Telling the Truth

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