Tony Dunlap could barely stand up straight and slowly attempted to swallow painkillers as he recalled what happened in a Sept. 10th attack that the police department’s Hate Crimes Unit is now investigating.
No arrests have been made and Dunlap, a 42-year-old actor, is recovering from surgery for groin injuries that he sustained in the attack.
Inspector Moore, the lead investigator on the case, said that Dunlap has been questioned but the department does not release details in an ongoing investigation.
The incident is the third hate crime that has occurred in the Mission-Castro area in the last five months. Suspects have been arrested in all of the other cases. In the last year there have been four cases of hate crime in the Mission District, according to the San Francisco Police Department.
In the first four months of 2010, hate crimes in San Francisco dropped to 20 compared to 24 in 2009, according to the SFPD.
Of the three anti-gay incidents in the Mission-Castro neighborhood one occured during Pride Weekend’s Pink Saturday, June 27th, Sergeant Limbert, said Chuck Limbert, the officer in charge of the case when it was first reported.
“One is too many,” said Limbert. Hate crimes are among the hardest to convict because the crime is very subjective. “It is up to victim’s perception of the crime,” he said.
Dunlap, who uses the name Tony Vaguely as a performer and leader of The Sick and Twisted Players theater group, was walking home from a party at 2:30 am on 18th and Dolores when the crime occurred, he said. He heard some noise by the park and, assuming gang members might be in the park, he decided to avoid the crowd and walk towards the 19th street Muni tracks.
He heard footsteps behind him. Worried that someone might be following him, he hid behind the wall at 19th street tracks.
“‘Hey faggot, looks like a queer to me,'” Dunlap recalled one of the men taunting as he stood under the overpass. Dunlap said the suspects were two back-lit silhouettes, but one of them appeared to be a male with blond hair.
“Everything happened so quickly,” Dunlap said. The men kicked him, swung at him with a bat and aimed at his groin area, he said.
Dunlap tried to to dial 911, but police said they received no call and Dunlap thinks now that he probably called 411 instead. (Dunlap adds that during the attack his phone was damaged and that might have been the reason why his calls did not go through.)
When police failed to arrive that night, Dunlap walked home, threw away his bloodied clothes and took a bath. “I wasn’t going to report it that night because I wanted my safe space,” he said.
Dunlap said he went to the doctor the next day on Friday afternoon, but waited until Saturday to go to the Mission Police Station.
There, police asked why he had failed to report the crime earlier. “There was something in the tone in which the question was asked,” said Dunlap. He was upset and left with out completing the report.
Sergeant Limbert, who is the Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian and Transgendered Liaison at Mission Station said he was at a general membership meeting for Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence when someone told him about the incident. Limbert contacted Dunlap. “He was more relaxed because I am a gay man,” Limbert said.
“Sergeant Limbert was a sweetheart,” Dunlap said adding that he returned to the station to complete the report.
Limbert said, ideally, victims should report a crime immediately and keep all the evidence. Dunlap’s case, he said, has been compromised because he got rid of his clothes.
To Dunlap, however, the evidence is his injury. “The crime scene is in my pants,” he said. However, he acknowledged, he would have difficulty identifying the suspects.
Hate Crime in San Francisco
The Mission’s first victim this year was Ray Tilton who was injured outside the 440 Bar in the Castro. On August 14th, a second attack by a group of young men assaulted Zachary Davenport at the Market/Church Street Muni station, police said.
Police send investigations to the Hate Crimes Unit after a preliminary investigation concludes that the allegations fall within the department’s definition of a hate crime — acts committed against an individual because of who the victim is/or who they are perceived to be.
After recovering from surgery, Dunlap will continue his theatrical work and might get involved with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Inspector Debra Moore, who has been assigned to the case in the Hate Crime Unit, said no further details can be given out, but Dunlap’s inability to identify the suspects makes an arrest more difficult.
“I am not a hero, it was something that needed to be reported. I was a little chicken at first because I tend to shy away from extremely embarrassing incident,” Dunlap said.