A 15 year old boy involved in a gay bashing incident on the Muni this past summer has been sentenced to supervised probation. The youth, whose name has not been released because of his age, was given a plea bargain in October and admitted to committing a hate crime and to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
The incident occurred on Saturday August 14th, on the J-Church line near Market and Church St at 12:25 a.m. Zachary Davenport, a 26 year old gay man, tried to exit the train when his bag got caught on a boy, who said “Watch it, faggot!”
When he replied “Excuse me?”, he was approached by another boy, who repeatedly called him a faggot and told him to move. From there, several others came at Davenport, throwing punches that resulted in a black eye and a minor head injury. Davenport said that the entire group of kids was probably around 20 people and many of them were saying things like “Get that little faggot.”
Davenport feared for his life when he saw even more youth coming towards him, so he ran. His cell phone was dropped and picked up by one of the boys during the incident.
It was all recorded on the Muni’s surveillance cameras, which provided a clear image of the primary suspect in the attack, according to police. On Friday August 20th, the boy was arrested on suspicion of battery, possession of stolen property, with a hate crime enhancement.
Since his arrest, the boy was held at the Juvenile Justice Center, but has been sent home and placed on probation with conditions that include going to school every day, not drinking or doing drugs, paying restitution, and attending “trainings and conferences focusing on LGBT issues,” according to Seth Steward, spokesman for San Francisco DA, Kamala Harris’ office.
The decision was made by Judge Kathleen Kelly, in a hearing on Friday, December 3rd, not to send the boy to Log Cabin Ranch, a juvenile detention facility in the woods of La Honda, CA.
The boy’s attorney, Kenneth Quigly, asserted to the Bay Area Reporter by e-mail that placement at the Log Cabin would be excessive since the boy has never been on probation before. Quigley wrote, “Only the most serious sort of repeat offenders are sent there,” including “gang members, robbers, rapists, burglars and those who shoot other people with guns.”
Quigley also claimed that the boy is “emphatically NOT homophobic. He has openly gay school friends and relatives, and of course many of his parents’ friends and their neighbors are gay.”
Davenport told the B.A.R. that overall, he is content with the disposition, though he makes it very clear that the crime was a big deal.
Despite the fact that his visible injuries are long gone, he says “the emotional and mental injuries have not healed and I am not sure if they ever fully will.”