Victim of Alleged Hate Crime Attack Needs Facial Reconstructive Surgery
A Denver, Colo., man who was attacked over the Labor Day weekend, allegedly because he was gay, will now require facial reconstructive surgery for injuries sustained during the beating KMGH-TV, Denver’s ABC-affiliated station reports.
In an interview given to KMGH, Jared Olson, 23, stated that he and two friends were assaulted by a man in a group of men who were hurling gay slurs at them in a parking lot as they left a hookah bar at 2 a.m.
According to Olson, the man followed him and his friends as they got into their car. The suspect pulled the door open to the back seat where Olsen and his friend, who is also gay, were sitting and then allegedly repeatedly punched Olson in the face and also assaulted his friend. The third friend who was in the driver’s seat was not harmed.
"He kept asking ’What are you looking at?’ and he walked to my door, pulled my door open, and hit me in the face," Olson told CBS Denver. "My clothes when I went to the hospital were covered in blood."
Olson was left covered in blood, has broken bones in his face, and several of his teeth were knocked out and chipped. Olson’s will have to undergo reconstructive surgery, which could cost up to $50,000. According to KMGH-TV, Olson does not have health insurance.
"I didn’t think that I looked that bad, until my mother had taken the picture and shown me," Olson told the news station. "I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. I thought people were more sensible than that in this day and age. I just remember looking over, and looking up at the guy and getting hit square in the face right here. And you can clearly tell my nose is like over here."
Denver police are currently investigating the incident as a hate crime. According to CBS Denver, the district attorney will determine if the suspect in the case, who is still at large, will be charged with a hate crime.
Olson told CBS Denver others have used anti-gay language towards him in the past, but he’s never been beaten, calling the attack "pretty disgusting." He added that he "can’t talk right. I can’t breathe. My face hurts."
"I don’t have a doubt in my mind they had a problem with us being gay," he said.
Olson’s friend, Joseph Montano, also believes the suspect attacked Olson because he is gay.
"I’m gay myself so I can’t imagine what my friend must be going through right now," Montano told CBS Denver. "Just because someone else is different, looks different, or acts a certain way there’s no reason to have to hit them."
Olson added he hopes the suspect "is caught and brought to justice over it. Mainly I want the message to get out there, this isn’t okay."
Friends have created a Facebook page to support Olson called "Justice For Jared," which, as of this writing, has over 2,500 likes.
"I’d like to thank everyone that came to visit me today and for those that have expressed your extremely kind words! Hopefully tomorrow we can figure out when I can have surgery! Here goes night #1 with a broken face," Olson wrote on Facebook.