Vonte Fuller, a 22-year-old gay man from Spartanburg, was just sitting in a bar–Sideline’s Sports & Spirit’s–on Sunday, just minding his own business, which I guess gay folks aren’t allowed to do in certain parts of South Carolina.
Vonte says a customer simply walked over to him and a pitcher of beer on his head. When he turned around to see what was going on, he was hit in the head with a beer bottle, and then more men joined in, throwing bottles, throwing fists, throwing anti-gay slurs: “I hate you faggots and … you punks are sick. And all ya’ll going to die slow.”
Finally, the club security broke up the fight, and kicked Vonte Fuller, and his attackers, out of the bar. Security did not call the police, the bar owner did nothing, and has since said nothing. Luckily, for Vonte Fuller, one patron did call an ambulance.
Taken to the hospital for treatment, Vonte Fuller was visited by a Spartanburg Public Safety officer, who never bothered to take a report. When Fuller said he didn’t know the men who attacked him, the officer shrugged and said there wasn’t much that could be done.
Um, how about questioning the other patrons in the bar? Bar security might have some answers. The bar owner might know the men’s names. Shrug.
But Vonte Fuller didn’t give up. After leaving the hospital, he and his family went to the police station to file a report. It was there he learned that the officer’s failure to take a report at the hospital is a violation of department policy, according to Lt. Regina Nowak, who said, “Bottom line: a report should have been taken. We have a duty to file that report, even if [the officers] don’t agree [that a report needs to be taken.]”
The officer who visited Fuller in the hospital and just shrugged has not been identified, but will be investigated by the department’s office of professional standards.
And, of course, since South Carolina has no Hate Crimes Laws, the beating of Vonte Fuller isn’t being designated as such by local authorities, though, and remember this is South Carolina, there could be a lynching charge, if the attackers are caught.
See, we have laws against lynching, which is a sad comment on South Carolina, but not against beating a gay man in a bar just because he’s gay and you’re a moron with nothing better to do.