Police investigate attack on Utah gay couple as possible hate crime

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Police said Wednesday an attack on a gay couple in suburban Salt Lake City is being investigated as a hate crime.

Stefanie Peacock said her 18-year-old son Christian and boyfriend Jacob Metcalf, also 18, were attacked just after midnight on Saturday. They were standing outside the Peacocks’ home in Sandy, a suburb of 97,000 southeast of Salt Lake City. Video recorded by Metcalf and posted on social media shows young men using homophobic slurs as Christian Peacock demands they leave.

An altercation ensued and a strike can be heard in the video. Peacock can later be heard saying, “You think you can just punch people?” Then the teenager who the couple believe was the attacker again called Peacock a derogatory insult, according to the video. Peacock later went to hospital to be checked for injuries and a concussion, his mother said.

A 17-year-old was arrested after the incident on suspicion of assault, Sandy Police Sgt. Greg Moffitt told The Associated Press on Tuesday. No charges have been filed and the suspect has not been named as he is a minor.

When charges are filed, Moffitt said police plan to supplement a misdemeanor assault charge with a hate crime enhancement because “it was very obvious that the suspect knew that (Peacock) was a gay man and that he was targeted for it.”

“We want our residents to know and we want the public to know that if this is happening in our city, we are not going to tolerate it. If it’s a hate crime, we’re going to prosecute it as a hate crime,” Moffitt said.



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