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In the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 17, outside a bar in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, a homophobic assault took place, and unlike an altogether separate incident involving a certain TV celebrity that has been heavily reported in the news, this incident cannot be denied and isn’t up for debate. It was caught on camera, clear as day.
Sal Trejo, 29, has told BuzzFeed News that he and his friends were waiting outside the bar for an Uber when the assailant left a nearby bar. As he walked past Trejo and his friends, the assailant told whomever he was speaking to on the phone that he was “standing by the gay guy in the camel coat.” When Trejo and his friends spoke up about the man’s rude comment, the incident immediately flared up.
“It was weird for someone to say something like that, and it very quickly escalated on his end to calling us faggots and calling the girls who were with us fat pigs,” Trejo says. That’s when he and his friends pulled out their phones and started to record.
After that, there’s video footage of what took place:
“Are you gay, though?” the assailant asks Trejo.
“Oh, I am,” he responds.
“Oh, then you’re gay,” the assailant says.
“Yeah, but you called me a … “
Trejo is unable to complete his sentence (he intended to say, “Yeah, but you called me a faggot”) because he’s hit, and his phone drops to the ground. Trejo was hit in his arm, though he thinks the assailant was aiming for his face.
Trejo claims the man caught on camera also shoved one of his female friends.
Watch video of the homophobic assault here:
My friends and I were assaulted by this homophobic man in downtown Salt Lake City last night. Anyone know him? The police are interested in having a chat with him. #SaltLakeCity @slcpd @slcmayor @EqualityUtah pic.twitter.com/1tPFSCADOp
— Salonge Knowles (@saltrejo) February 17, 2019
Before fleeing, the assailant in the homophobic assault reportedly pulled a knife on Trejo and his group and threatened them “while continuing to call us faggots.” It’s alleged the assailant then got into his car and sped away into oncoming traffic, believed to be drunk.
On the Monday after the homophobic assault took place, the Salt Lake City police reached out to Trejo to say they’d made contact with the assailant of the video and that he was cooperating fully. It turns out that after Trejo’s video had gone viral, the assailant turned himself in.
Following the homophobic assault against Trejo and his friends, both the mayor of Salt Lake City, Jackie Biskupski — who happens to be openly gay herself — and LGBT rights group Equality Utah have reached out to offer support. State Senator Derek Kitchen, also gay, has said the incident is a great example of why the state needs hate crimes legislation.
“No one should be attacked simply because of who they are,” Equality Utah said on Twitter. “We will work with [Trejo] and law enforcement to ensure that justice prevails.”