Yolo County, California – The 20-year-old man arrested for a brutal attack on a gay man had his bail raised Wednesday to over half a million dollars, and was out on the streets of Davis, California by Thursday afternoon. Clayton Garzon, charged for an anti-gay hate crime against Lawrence “Mikey” Partida, an openly gay Davis resident, had his bail raised to $520,000 in response to the request of Yolo County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Mount who called Garzon a “serious public safety risk,” according to the Davis Enterprise. After only one night in Yolo County Jail, his family posted bail, and Garzon is free again until an April 12 court date. Garzon is also charged with felonies in a previous case, in which he allegedly stabbed several people in a bar brawl in Dixon.
Garzon is charged for beating Partida unconscious while screaming anti-gay slurs at him in the early morning hours of March 10. He is alleged to have left the gay man bleeding on the lawn outside of his cousin’s home in order to beat on the door of the house to brag loudly about what he had just done. A Solano County gas station attendant has come forward to report that Garzon also bragged about what he had done to a gay man, later that same day. Frances Swanson, Partida’s aunt, said to CBS Sacramento that Garzon’s believed he had killed her nephew. “The only reason he’s not dead is because we’re blessed, and my nephew got lucky. Otherwise, that was the intent,” she said.
Partida is now released from an acute care rehabilitation facility where he spent over a week following his hospitalization at the UC-Davis Medical Center. The assault left him with bleeding on his brain, a fractured skull, and a shattered eye socket. He says he feels like a prisoner in his own home as long as Garzon is free on the street. Yet, according to several interviewers, Partida seems to bear no grudge against his attacker. Instead, he hopes that he will never have to see his assailant again, and that the young man will somehow learn from this experience that hatred never pays.
This time, Garzon is being monitored closely by the Yolo County Probation Office. Though he is out on bail, he is wearing a GPS device to show his location at all times, and a SCRAM device, which monitors any alcohol intake. The court ordered that he must stay 100 yards away from his alleged victim.
The assault came “out of nowhere,” Partida told reporters. “[I] was just an easier target for them. They knew I was gay. They knew they were taller and bigger, and knew how to fight,” he said. “I couldn’t fight them off. I’ve never been in a fight. They were just saying the f-word — the gay word — but f.” According to his cousin, Vanessa Turner, the men kept shouting anti-gay epithets as they beat, punched, and kicked him unconscious, leaving him a bloody mess with multiple fractures, a severe concussion, cuts, bruises, and a dangerously swollen eye. Partida was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center, where his doctors say he should make a full recovery. But the emotional damage done to him will take much longer to heal, he told CBS 13. “Even if you think it’s your back doorstep, it’s a scary, scary world. You’d think in your hometown, which is Davis, you wouldn’t think anything at your doorstep would hit you that hard,” said Partida.
In an interview with ABC News 10, Ms. Turner, Partida’s cousin, said that one of the assailants, a man from their neighborhood, came back to the scene of the crime and knocked on their door, bragging about what he had done to their gay cousin. She said what they did to her cousin was an expression of ignorance and arrogance. Like Partida, she has no doubt that the assault was an anti-gay hate crime. His main attacker kept shouting the epithets repeatedly. “I heard him, personally, yelling slurs at him,” she said. “I know it was unprovoked.”
On Thursday, Davis Police arrested 19-year-old Clayton Garzon, in the case, a local student with a record of offenses. Garzon has been charged with assault causing great bodily injury, assault with deadly weapon, commission of a hate crime, stalking, commission of a felony while on release from custody and infliction of bodily injury during the commission of a felony. He was put on $75,000 bond, which he met soon after his arrest, and now walks free until his date with a judge. No other arrests have been made. In the meantime, Partida is attempting to put his sense of security back together again. But he is not going to allow homophobes to dictate whether he can visit his own cousins, he says. Davis is his home, too, and he is looking for justice to be done.
Forest Hill, Texas – A Tarrant County mother faces charges of abuse for using an electrical cord to whip her 15-year-old son whom she caught in same-sex act with an 18-year-old boy. CBSDFW reports that Erica Moore is adamantly defending her son’s punishment, claiming she was well within her rights to beat the child. “I actually caught this going on in my house so how was I supposed to react to it? I supposed to just let it go? No! We was taught to discipline our kids and we whoop our kids,” she said.
The “whooping” was severe enough to draw the attention of authorities who say she faces charges of assault with bodily injury to a family member, which, if proven, carries jail time with it. Police learned of the crime when the boy’s grandmother took him to a hospital emergency room to have his wounds treated. The beating left the boy with cut skin, bruises, and bleeding on his forearms, legs, back, torso, and hands.
Ms. Moore is fighting the charges on the grounds that she was taught to “whoop” her children, and that homosexuality is a sin. Waking up to sounds in her son’s room, she said she opened his bedroom door and found her boy having sex with his 18-year-old male cousin. Her account to Joe Gomez of KRLD News Radio was explicit in detail:
“My cousin at the time he was 18. My son he was 15 and I had walked in the room on [my cousin] giving oral sex to my son and I started whooping my son, and I’m the one who got in trouble as a result of me whooping him,” she said. “When I walked in I saw my son, it was just disgusting to me, the way he was looking and my cousin was looking, and my cousin immediately ran out the door. And I’m just like what the?!? You know, is you serious? So that was my reaction because it disgusted me.”
Continuing her justification of her actions, she said that if she caught her daughter doing something similar, she would beat her in the same way.
Forest Hill, a quiet mid-city situated between Fort Worth and Arlington, is typical in attitude toward perceived homosexuality in suburban North Texas. Ms. Moore said that when a Forest Hill Police Officer arrived to investigate, he said that if he had caught his boy in the same situation, he would have wanted to shoot him and his lover on the spot, but that the law prevented beating a child like she beat hers. Weeks later, the police arrested Ms. Moore for the beating, perhaps indicating the heterosexist sympathy of law enforcement for a mother brave enough attempt to “beat the gay” out of her son.
KRLD interviewed Child Protective Services spokesperson Marissa Gonzalez about the case. “If you are leaving the child with severe injuries or bruises,” she said, “then obviously we might be talking about abuse.”
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has a massive problem with children in their teens and earlier who are beaten, disowned, and forced out of their homes by parents who despise their sexual exploration and homosexual behavior. While nothing conclusively identifies Ms. Moore’s son as gay, he is headed toward becoming a sad statistic. Joanna Jenkins of Circle of Moms says that children deserve unconditional love, not judgment or punishment for their actual or imagined sexual orientation. She writes: “The question is: ‘How can you help your gay child?’ You can help your gay child with unconditional love and acceptance. We are talking about your child. Someone you gave birth to, who is a part of you. Do you want them to live a life of pain and guilt? Quote the Bible to them. It will not stop them from being who they are. Some gay children experience so much guilt and shame that they take their own life. Could you live with yourself if your child killed his/herself because you couldn’t accept them for who they are? Your child is still your child, gay or straight. The only thing that has changed is what you know about your child. A true mother’s love is unconditional and will be there long after she is gone.”