The Washington D.C. resident who was attacked in the bathroom of the legendary Stonewall Inn on Sunday wrote on his blog about the apparent hate crime incident—and ensuing attention, "I’ve been contacted by what seems to be every newspaper and television station in New York. Apparently this is a big story there." Ben Carver offered an account of what happened—including how he fought back against his attackers in the bar bathroom after they allegedly said, "We don't like gay bars, and we don't piss next to f---ts"—and added more recently:
Violence for its own sake is never OK. I’ve read a few of the comments posted on one of the news articles online, and I’m disappointed by both gay and straight commenters who propose violence. We must not give in to this form of irrational thinking. We must be better than these bullies, and we must not give away our power to them by entertaining thoughts of fear and violence. While righteous anger is acceptable, we cannot let them take our peace.
I forgave these men immediately. The legal system will now decide on a punishment, and I will try to respect whatever decision it makes. What I hope is that at some point, the judgment will include (as a necessity) that these men are informed about the importance of stonewall, what it means to the L/G/B/T community, and that somehow they are given help to understand that all human life is precious and that violence is never acceptable. I would also like to give my condolences to their families, as I’m sure it’s a difficult time for their mothers.
Carver's description of the attack is dizzying:
I stepped forward and said, “Don’t escalate this situation. Please move and let me leave.” This is when the man I’ve learned to know as “Matthew” cold-cocked me in the face.
The other man, “Orlando,” tackled me and pinned my arms. Matthew then hit me in the head approximately four times before I was able to swing away from him. Considering the extremely small space, there wasn’t much room to maneuver. The action happened very quickly so I can’t recall every movement, but needless to say it was very violent as I used any leverage I had to move the pile and get free of Orlando. I remember there were three distinct series where Matthew punched my head repeatedly, separated by the moments where our mutual crashing impeded his ability to land punches. All told, I believe his punched my head about a dozen times. I was able to break free by slamming Orlando back against Matthew and the wall. I was then able to get my left arm free, which I swung back behind me, connecting with Matthew’s face three or four times. That allowed me enough leverage to break free. I immediately saw a beer bottle sitting in the basin of the sink. I grabbed it and swung as hard as I could at one of their heads, but missed. Then I threw the bottle at them. They quickly recoiled back when I first swung the bottle, giving me just enough room to escape the restroom and run into the main bar area. I had blood streaming down my right eye and was dazed, but I immediately placed two hands on the pool table outside of the bathroom and searched the table with my good eye for a billiard ball to use as a weapon, being that I knew the men were right behind me. The table was clear, so I turned around and saw Matthew right behind me. I took a big step toward him and swung at him with everything I had, but missed him. After that it gets fuzzy for me. I heard screaming, someone grabbed me from behind, and people rushed between me and the two men. The attackers slipped out of the bar while I told the bartender that I had been gay bashed.
Staten Island residents Matthew Francis, 21, and Christopher Orlando, 17, were arrested and charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, plus attempted first- and second-degree robbery (the pair allegedly demanded money from Carver). Francis's sister is a lesbian and she told the Daily News, "If anybody ever gave me s--t about being gay, he would totally back me up 100%... If he needs me to come down there to represent for him, I have lots of people who would support him."
In Carver's post, he also thanks the staff of the Stonewall, plus, "I would also like to commend the exceptional work done by the New York Police Department and the DA’s office. The uniformed officers, the detectives working the case, the Assistant DA Karin Singh, the Captain of the Sixth precinct (Captain Cobb?), the EMS workers, and the Physician’s Assistant (Peter) who cared for me at the hospital were caring, professional, and highly competent at their jobs. I know people often complain about New Yorkers and their emergency services, but I will tell anyone that will listen that the term 'New York’s Finest' actually means something. New Yorkers should be relieved and proud to be so well looked after."