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Rice Lake attack and its aftermath

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Rice Lake attack and its aftermath

Postby kurt_w » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:21 am

I don't know if there are more details that aren't being reported, but this sure sounds pretty bad:

Applebee’s employee gay-bashed by husband of co-worker says he was told not to return to work due to bad publicity

This guy Timothy Phares was brutally beaten with a 2x4 by the husband of another employee (with the words "Fucking faggot, I’m going to kill you"). Phares was knocked unconscious and suffered "multiple facial fractures that will ultimately require surgery to implant metal plates".

His assailant, Rien Hendricks, is free on bail (despite previously having faced charges for bail jumping).

This seems to have been just one in an escalating series of events involving intolerance and anti-gay harassment at the Rice Lake Applebees restaurant. It began with this incident a few days earlier:

After being treated abusively by a diner he was serving, Phares said he asked restaurant manager Tara Steinberg to have someone else take over the table, a party of eight. According to Phares, he was following company policy.

As the diner was leaving the restaurant, other patrons who’d been seated nearby said the diner had made a number of embarrassing anti-gay and homophobic slurs while Phares was serving him, according to Phares.

“The patron called the restaurant the next day and said he would not come back inside the restaurant until I was fired,” Phares said. “(Steinberg) told me they were going to write me up for the situation, and if I got one more write-up I would be fired.”


After the beating incident and subsequent publicity, the restaurant manager told Phares he shouldn't return to work. When the case was brought to the attention of Applebees corporate management they intervened to get Phares reinstated in his job, but he apparently doesn't think he'll be staying long:

He said he’s disappointed that the restaurant refuses to dismiss Shannon Hendricks, who drove her husband to the crime scene and watched the assault. And he’s angry that the restaurant allowed a post to remain on its Facebook page calling him a “faggot,” despite his complaints, he said. [... In addition, according to Phares] the husband of another co-worker threatened to kill him if he returned to Applebee’s.


Meanwhile, Rien Hendricks won't be charged with a hate crime in the beating case:

Despite the anti-gay slur shouted prior to the attack, there is not adequate evidence to prosecute the alleged assault as a hate crime, according to Barron County District Attorney Angela Beranek. She said Wisconsin law requires evidence that a crime was committed wholly or in part due to the perceived sexual orientation of the victim in order to attach a hate-crime enhancement to the charges.

Beranek said no such evidence exists in this case.


I'm not sure why Wisconsin would bother with a hate crime law if even an incident like this isn't considered applicable. But maybe there's more to the story that isn't being reported.
kurt_w
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Re: Rice Lake attack and its aftermath

Postby Mad Howler » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:05 pm

I don't know. Considering how "well" asking people here to consider the notion of other "worked" on this board - what do you expect from the culture of our bothers and sisters up in Rice Lake? It breaks my heart - but the data is what it is.

Very sad, thank you for pointing this story out.
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Re: Rice Lake attack and its aftermath

Postby Igor » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:34 pm

I realize your focus is on the hate crime enhancer (which FWIW I do not support). To me, the bigger question is, "how does a guy with a history of bail jumping get granted bail after beating someone with a 2x4?" That seems like a significant hole in the process.
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Re: Rice Lake attack and its aftermath

Postby kurt_w » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:50 am

No, actually, there's no particular "focus" there -- the whole chain of events just seems unfortunate. The bail-jumping thing baffled me, too.

I just included the hate-crime issue at the end, not because it's something I have a super-strong opinion about, but just because it seems odd to have a hate-crime law and not apply it in what seems like an obvious case. But as I said, maybe there's more to the case than what's been discussed in the news.

I am aware that some people don't like the idea of hate-crime laws because they "criminalize thoughts" or whatever. That objection doesn't seem reasonable to me. We already punish criminals differently depending on their thoughts. In fact, it's a central part of our system of justice. But that may have nothing to do with your objection to hate crime laws.
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