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A video of a homophobic verbal assault on a gay couple in Portland, Oregon has gone viral, prompting outrage about a perceived lack of intervention from police. An investigation into the altercation has since been launched.
Trudy and Wendy Dragoon say they were attempting to find the owner of a lost dog on July 15 when they suddenly faced the vitriol of a man who exited his car to launch homophobic slurs at the couple, according to Oregon Live, an Oregon-based news organization. Wendy caught some of the rant on her cellphone.
In the video, the unidentified man can be seen threatening violence against Trudy while using various derogatory, homophobic epithets. Two men who were with the assailant did not intervene.
The video concludes as a police officer arrives. But the Dragoons say the officer was entirely unhelpful and would not make a report of the incident.
"[The officer] told us 'just ignore them and walk away.' And I was like 'No, this is hate crime and you need to take care of this right now,'" Trudy Dragoon told KATU News, a Portland, Oregon-based news organization.
Grant Williams, the area's neighborhood watch chair, also attempted to file a report.
“There's really no way in my mind that a rational thinking person wouldn't have at least made some kind of report about it,” said Williams to KATU News.
The Dragoons posted the video of the altercation on Facebook, where it quickly went viral. The video has now been viewed over 30,000 times. (Warning: Video contains graphic content.)
Portland Police Sgt. Chris Burley would not say whether the officer acted appropriately but confirmed an investigation has been launched, according to KATU News.
“As a police officer, as a member of the gay community, I - it's extremely offensive language,” Burley tells KATU News. “Just because of hateful speech, an officer cannot necessarily take somebody into custody.”
The virality of the video led some pro-LGBTQ citizens to track down the people allegedly involved in the incident and leave messages of support for the victims in chalk in front of their home on July 16, according to The Portland Mercury. Witnesses say an older man was seen cleaning the chalk drawings off the street.
The unnamed man allegedly called police to report vandalism.
"Yes, there was choice words, a lot of choice words," said the older man, identified only as Josh by KATU. "And that video’s viral. But then again, they are out on the street. They’re on the sidewalk. This is out in public. You’ve got freedom of speech."
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]