Police in Salt Lake City, Utah, are aking the public for their help to find a suspect seen on video punching a man after asking if he was gay.
The short 8-second clip, recorded on a phone by victim Sal Trejo, was uploaded to Twitter on Sunday as part of the effort to find the “dangerous” individual.
The video shows a man wearing a green T-shirt asking Trejo, “Are you gay though?”
When the victim replies “Oh, I am,” the suspect responds by saying, “Oh, then you are gay,” before hitting Trejo and sending his phone flying.
The incident reportedly occurred in the early hours of February 17 outside a bar in downtown Salt Lake City, reports Newsweek.
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
In a statement posted on Twitter, Trejo said: “It started with him approaching us out of the blue and making homophobic and misogynistic comments towards our group.”
“We started recording him and asked him to leave, he wouldn’t and then went on to hit me and shove one of our girlfriends,” Trejo added. “At this point, we became verbally aggressive to protect ourselves. We called the police immediately.”
“He then pulled out a knife and pointed it towards us while continuing to call us faggots. He eventually ran off, got into his car (in his intoxicated state) and drove on the light-rail tracks until he sped off away from Main Street. This man is dangerous and needs to be held accountable for his actions,” Trejo said.
Trejo described the suspect to KUTV as a white male aged 23-24 years old and around 5 foot 8 inches tall. He was wearing blue jeans with a Louis Vuitton belt, camouflage print shoes, green T-shirt and a silver watch. Trejo said that the attacker drove away in what appeared to be a 2007 BMW X5.
Salt Lake City Police confirmed on Twitter they are now investigating the incident and retweeted the video as part of the appeal to find the suspect. The department is urging anyone with any information about the attack to call 801-799-3000, stating reference case 19-28822.
The video of the attack was shared on social media by Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski while confirming the incident is under investigation.
This has been reported to SLCPD and is being investigated. https://t.co/xNgxTDzyKH
— Mayor J. Biskupski (@slcmayor) February 18, 2019
State Senator Derek Kitchen, who is the only openly gay member of Utah’s Legislature, also shared the footage on Twitter. “It’s time for the UT Legislature to act on hate crimes legislation,” he said in the caption.
— Derek Kitchen (@derekkitchen) February 18, 2019
Salt Lake City Police shared the video along with a public appeal that anyone with pertinent information call 801-799-3000 and reference case 19-28822.
We are asking anyone with information on this case to call 801-799-3000 and reference case 19-28822 https://t.co/vWfG7Arr3v
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) February 18, 2019
UPDATE: Salt Lake City Police said on Monday afternoon that they have “made contact with the suspect who is cooperating fully with the investigation.”