Community on edge after alleged homophobic attack

Tara
Tara Bradbury
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Police won’t comment further unless formal complaint is filed

Pattrick Blackburn posted this photo of himself on Facebook earlier this week, after he said he was beaten in a homophobic attack.
— Submitted photo

By Tara Bradbury and Barb Sweet

The Telegram

Police say they’ve been in contact with the victim of an alleged hate crime numerous times with opportunities to file a formal complaint, but he has refused.

The RNC issued a statement to the media Thursday saying it will no longer comment on the alleged incident.

“The RNC will not be providing any further information in relation to this alleged incident or answering any further questions until such time as a formal complaint has been received,” the statement said.

Early this week, St. John’s resident Pattrick Blackburn, 30, took to YouTube and Facebook to tell his story of having allegedly been beaten and robbed, after a homophobic slur was shouted at him. He was walking in the Rawlins Cross area, on his way home in the wee hours of Friday morning, he said, and kept walking after hearing a group of men shout the slur at him. He said he heard footsteps, and the next thing he knew, he was waking up in a hospital bed.

A friend is said to have found Blackburn by the side of the road and put him in his car, where he has said he took photos of Blackburn’s injuries before driving downtown to find a police officer. The officer called an ambulance to take Blackburn to hospital.

Blackburn said in his video he had undergone a blood transfusion and received 18 stitches in his forehead, and a nurse at the hospital told him he had been in danger of “bleeding out” and dying had he arrived 10 minutes later. He posted the photos taken by his friend on Facebook, showing himself covered in blood.

A fundraising account has been set up online for Blackburn, and organizations in St. John’s, Halifax and Ottawa are planning events to raise money for him. The story has made national and international news.

In the past few days, members of the public have pointed out what they say are inconsistencies in Blackburn’s story, accusing him of faking the attack and asking why he has not reported the incident to police. Blackburn, a makeup artist and fitness instructor, told The Telegram on Wednesday he was scared to leave his house on account of harassment, and added his email account and computer had been hacked. He declined an interview.

Wednesday night, he made an emotional statement on Facebook, thanking his friends for their support and describing his frame of mind.

“I can’t eat anything. I can’t sleep properly. My anxiety levels are so high I constantly feel like I’m going to have a heart attack because I’m left feeling like I did something wrong and I owe someone an apology,” he wrote, adding he was leaving town for a few days to get away from things and relax.

Blackburn said a media report saying he hadn’t spoken to police was untrue.

“I have spoken to the police and there will be a statement and a on going (sic) investigation,” he wrote. “The ball will be rolled. I owe it to you guys, myself and humanity itself. But I’m in no mental capacity right now to do so.”

While the RNC would not comment Thursday on police procedure when it comes to dealing with seriously injured assault victims, a spokeswoman for Eastern Health — noting she could not discuss the particular incident because of patient confidentiality and privacy rules — said unless a patient requests otherwise, Eastern Health employees will not report an incident of trauma to the police. It isn’t mandatory to report any type of injury of patients presenting in an emergency department, she said.

Noah Davis-Power, president of St. John’s Pride Inc., said the alleged gay-bashing incident has shaken the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and needs to be investigated.

“People are afraid to go out,” he told The Telegram.

He said he’s hoping the police will address the LGBT community about its fear and safety concerns, as well as the possibility of a hate crime being committed.

 

Related opinion piece by Barb Sweet can be read here

 

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Pride Inc.

Geographic location: Rawlins Cross, Halifax, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Ryan
    August 28, 2013 - 09:15

    If he was nearly beaten to death. It's amazing that he doesn't have any other facial damage.. You know black eyes, busted lip, broke nose.

  • NickW
    August 28, 2013 - 07:09

    I find it funny that we are questioning this because there was no police report yet earlier last year there was a full piece on someone else accusing someone of assault and it was posted without question, when several people have indicated those claims were false also. Some shoddy telegram work with the previous piece so nothing surprises me now. Falsely accusing anyone is absolutely disgusting.

  • HVK
    August 24, 2013 - 06:27

    I agree with "Karma". Something doesn't add up about this story. If Blackburn was so scared about being retaliated against, why did he post the video on social media. I think he is setting a bad example for LGBT community.

  • Formerfriend
    August 24, 2013 - 06:09

    When I had first heard about this story and when I saw his pleading YouTube video being shared all over my Facebook by my friends who I knew did not know patt Blackburn, I wasn't sure what to think. Was I the only one who could see the holes in his story and question his motives for making the video in the first place? From reading the comments, if I was alone, I'm not anymore. Thank you all for opening your eyes and seeing this for what I expect it actually is... Classic patt. The details are scanty, there are so many holes you can see right through the story, he makes it easy to get sucked in, and he has his hand out for money. After I watched that video, I clicked on his actual YouTube account, where I happened upon the video he had previously uploaded that same night, one of him with a glass of wine in his hand lip syncing the little mermaids "poor unfortunate souls". Well that video was quickly removed I suspect as soon as he sobered up as saw that people were buying his story without question and sending him money. For what?! Did he loose everything he owned in a house fire? No. He claims to have had his rent money taken in the middle of the month after he was beaten for being gay, in an undisclosed area of downtown St. John's (later came out that it was Rawlins cross area), after leaving club v (a detail that was also not disclosed in his video). And there was no mention of anyone with details to contact him or the police. i would like to see someone attest to the state he was in upon leaving the club, a bartender or bouncer, since I have personally witnessed his after bar antics and know that there's always more to his story then he lets on. He even went so far as to ask if he looked fat after his news story was aired on tv. No patt, you look like an a-hole. You do not deserve anyone's hard earned money, regardless of what actually happened to you that night. People, if you want to give, go find a registered charity, do not put money in this persons pocket. Let me make myself clear, I have all the respect in the world for the gay community, and if it turns out that this was indeed a gay bashing I will be first in line to apologize for questioning his story. Being gay isn't a choice, but using it as an excuse for everything that happens to you in life certainly is.

    • Heleena
      August 24, 2013 - 19:06

      Wow.. im not the only one who seen this ! thank GOD you put this up here i was thinking i was seeing things!! but yes.. he was there drinking and dancing on his bed with wine in hand... there was NO pain in sight and then telling his twitter friend " hold on while i put bandages ON FOR YOU " and laughing at the fact that he was gay bashed.... the picture of this tweet.. a screen shot is actually circulating !!! and it was seen in ENGLAND !!! because he is trying to get " STARS " , celebrities to get him noticed. its sick and all this money has been raised and they are saying fundraisers were a no show, what a lie. my sister was in Ottawa and she knows they were drunk on the cash raised and laughing at how they all were getting drunk of pats FAUX cuts. they even were making jokes saying the latest Halloween look will be pat-trick Blackburn . two band aids and an eye patch with fake tears and a glass of wine ! PATHETIC! it has to stop!!

  • d
    August 23, 2013 - 13:41

    the police have said no complaint has been filed

  • CONFUSED
    August 23, 2013 - 12:04

    BLACKBURN, WE ALL KNOW YOU ARE READING THESE COMMENTS...SPEAK UP- TELL THE TRUTH!!! COME CLEAN WITH THE TRUTH- IT WILL SET YOU FREE!! HOW MUCH MONEY HAS BEEN COLLECTED FOR YOU AND FOR WHAT??????????????????????

  • Concerned
    August 23, 2013 - 11:35

    Reading this story, I was first alarmed. However, I was at a loss to see why funds are being raised for this man. If he was assaulted, that is a police issue if the assaulted person wants it to be. How is this connected to the need for money?

  • Wetcoast Norman
    August 23, 2013 - 11:28

    Blackburn, a MAKEUP ARTIST posted the photos taken by his friend on Facebook, showing himself covered in blood.

  • AFriend
    August 23, 2013 - 11:17

    He never once claimed that it was a hate crime. Citizens claimed it was a hate crime. I find it disgusting that we are treating this poor guy like this. He has reported it to police, but he chose not to press charges at this time. None of us has been through what he has, and we cannot even begin to know how we would feel in the same situation. The facts we know are... he was attacked after being called a F*G, this in itself is where we understand it would be a hate crime. A coworker found him in a bloodied mess, and he can confirm this. He went to find the police, in St John's that is only one street away... here in St John's there is a lot of police downtown as there are a lot of drunks down there. The police confirm that they did call an ambulance for him and he was attacked. This poor boy is terrified that he will be hunted down if he tries to press charges. Instead of people attacking this guy how about supporting him. He owes us nothing....I would love to see these people brought to justice... but attacking him is not making him any better. He has already been physically attacked... now... mentally attacked by the public. Where is the love people?

    • Karma
      August 23, 2013 - 11:38

      In response to another comment made here by a friend of the victim , i am trying to understand something? Did he know the assailants or no? Curious because all stories claim that he heard people and then next thing he remembers is waking up at hospital. How can he press charges on people that he doesn't know the identity of? A statement and interview with police would at least give them opportunity to investigate . Fear of retaliation is not sitting right with me, when this story is so public and social media is full of pictures and videos( since removed by victim). If fear is so high what's to say these assailants are not reading all of these things. If you don't know who they were, then isn't plastering the story all over Facebook and twitter a little risky? Observations and story do not add up

    • A friend
      August 23, 2013 - 15:15

      He didn't plaster it all over Facebook, and media , agitated friends and family did. The gay community is very tight knit. And when something happens like this we help our friend in need, sometimes more than needed. I read in another post that he also turned away money raised. This is not about money. But the community and friends always feel they need to help. And they are doing so right across the country. He may not even accept it. I am sure there will be many expenses tho, with therapy, maybe physicians? I am not sure what he may need.

  • Me
    August 23, 2013 - 10:54

    If I found a friend bleeding on the side of the road, I don't think taking pictures would be the first thing to do.

    • Ryan
      August 28, 2013 - 12:14

      @afriend. In an earlier story it said he was listening to music on an iPod or something. How could he hear footsteps

  • LDT
    August 23, 2013 - 10:08

    From the moment I first saw this guy on tv, before the doubt started popping up everywhere, I told my husband that something doesn't seem right with this story. There are too many holes. No report, no proof, soliciting money, etc..... I am not sure if this story is true or not, but I will not be contributing to a fundraising campaign! Mr. Blackburn, if your story is true then I wish you the best in your recovery and I hope that you find the support you need. However, if this turns out to be a hoax there will be many angry people who may not be so quick to forgive....

    • Afriend
      August 23, 2013 - 16:58

      He isn't soliciting money!! Lol people keep saying this... Get your facts straight before making stupid comments... Communities around the world keep doing fund raisers in his name

  • JM
    August 23, 2013 - 09:18

    There are so many things wrong with this story. How would a group of strangers know he is gay? Was he wearing a sign on hiss back? Why would the friend take pictures while his friend was lying on the road covered in blood? Why go downtown looking for police when Rawlins Cross is less than two minutes from RNC headquarters? Alternatively, why go for the police when, according to the alleged victim, he was "10 minutes from dying" when he got to the hospital? I understand that fear and shock on finding the friend covered in blood might make somebody react irrationally but police instead of medical help?? Why hasn't the alleged victim reported to the police? he doesn't have to leave his home to do that. The RNC would come to him to take a statement. Is this a stunt to get the gay community to raise money for this guy (as apparently is happening)? Frankly, I won't believe his story unless he reports it immediately. Unfortunately, a delay of 7 days will seriously hamper any investigation but this is a really weird story.

  • ?
    August 23, 2013 - 08:59

    If he's all over the media why won't he talk to the police, it makes no sense. Its obvious he wants attention but won't take the steps to help catch the perps. Hate crimes are serious and need to be investigated, he is preventing this. I worry for the safety of others.

  • Terry Patrick
    August 23, 2013 - 08:39

    FORGET ORIENTATION:-Think Rawlins Cross. Friend, a FRIEND happens along and puts him in car bleeding and heads downtown to find police? Police Station around the corner on Lemarchant?? St. Clair's hospital straight accross LeMarchant?? Why downtown?? MAKES NO SENSE!!! Blackburn requesting money for what?? Wee hours of morning, walking, beaten and robbed. Could happen to anyone male, female, gay, straight. Did hospital call police?? Why would police need Blackburn's permission to investigate?? If someone presented at any hospital beaten and raped and the victim refused to file a complaint would the police investigate or wait until the next incident???? Makes no. If someone were killed, would the police wait for a formal complaint. Question police response to this incident and Hospital/Police proceedure regarding suspected crime.

  • Jackson
    August 23, 2013 - 08:31

    There are so many things about this story that simply do not add up. If I found a friend beaten and bleeding on the ground I would not put him in my car and drive him downtown to look for a police officer when there was an emergency room within the same distance. I am a gay man who like everyone is concerned for my safety, not just because I’m gay but because of the times we live in. The bottom line is that someone cannot make a claim like this and then just walk away from it. Mr. Blackburn’s claim now has all reading headlines like “Community on edge after alleged homophobic attack”. This claim has now caused a division in the community, those who think that he was gay bashed and those who think that he is playing some sort of game. There is no doubt that something happened to Mr. Blackburn but attacking the media outlets for reporting it and playing word games about talking to the police vs. filing an actual police report are not helping his case or the community at large. As Billy Posted in an earlier response “Mr. Blackburn you do not instill fear in a community and expect nobody will want answers... whatever they are.

  • Bizarre Story
    August 23, 2013 - 08:27

    I am not sure what to think of this story. Very sad for this young man to have gotten beaten up while innocently walking. BUT, is this true?????? and as another said, Why is he asking for money????? for what??????? its terrible if this was made up to get some cash...also, sorry but you go public nationwide but refuse to file a complaint withthe police?? why??? Because perjury or misleading police is another serious charge?? I think Blackburn has himself in hot water now and doesnt know what to do but as long as he is not filing a complaint with RNC , he will reap the benefits of donated money, pity and lots of attention. Whats the truth here Blackburn?????? it certainly would make much more sense if you filed a police report!!!

  • anon
    August 23, 2013 - 08:25

    I don't think the video was meant to go viral or for attention. I think it was more so done for his friends and we all ended up sharing it because of how shocking it is. I think everyone needs to get off Pattricks case and leave him alone. No he didn't call the friend. I know them both and the friend is actually a coworker who works downtown and just happened to come across him.

  • Truth seeker
    August 23, 2013 - 08:22

    Curious why there are so many fundraisers planned for this guy when , in an interview statement with a local news station he says that he has enough money, and that he has had to give some of it back, and that he was donating some to an LBGT camp. With big fundraisers already in the works in other provinces, not to mention the ones planned locally, why , if he has enough money , are people raising funds?? Does not add up. There has been comments made on twitter too, by the victim, making jokes about his bashing and his bandages. If you are so traumatized, why would you be Joking and laughing about it? Just observations from an honest citizen wanting the truth. No one deserves to be beat up. Regardless of gender, sexuality, race, hurting someone is wrong. People are getting hurt every day. Straight people, gay people, ethnic people, every population of people. As a parent of a gay teen, I hope that there is legitimacy to this story, simply because..if this is a case of a boy who cried wolf, then if it does happen in future to another unfortunate gay soul, I am afraid that the public wont open their hearts , but turn the other cheek.

  • Catherine
    August 23, 2013 - 08:20

    Curious why there are so many fundraisers planned for this guy when , in an interview statement with a local news station he says that he has enough money, and that he has had to give some of it back, and that he was donating some to an LBGT camp. With big fundraisers already in the works in other provinces, not to mention the ones planned locally, why , if he has enough money , are people raising funds?? Does not add up. There has been comments made on twitter too, by the victim, making jokes about his bashing and his bandages. If you are so traumatized, why would you be Joking and laughing about it? Just observations from an honest citizen wanting the truth. No one deserves to be beat up. Regardless of gender, sexuality, race, hurting someone is wrong. People are getting hurt every day. Straight people, gay people, ethnic people, every population of people. As a parent of a gay teen, I hope that there is legitimacy to this story, simply because..if this is a case of a boy who cried wolf, then if it does happen in future to another unfortunate gay soul, I am afraid that the public wont open their hearts , but turn the other cheek.

  • John Paul
    August 23, 2013 - 08:04

    I don't believe Blackburn's story...not one bit. He may have been assaulted...or he may have fell down/passed out drunk on his face! And how in the world did his friend just happen to find him by driving by? Very suspicious story, and clearly I'm not the only one who feels that way. And then he says a nurse told him he was 10 minutes from death...and received a blood transfusion! Where's the proof! Eastern Health can't confirm/deny these facts & the alleged victim knows it! Perhaps he should release proof of his injuries/treatment so that people can see facts that support his story! Lastly, I am not a member of the LGBT community. But I have family members, friends and associate's who are! They deserve to have this alleged crime investigated! As do everyone else who supports a crime free society free of bigots/racists and close minded individuals. Mr. Blackburn has done himself and our province a disservice by crying online about something that so far isn't supported by facts!

  • Marty
    August 23, 2013 - 08:01

    If the alleged assault happened it is indeed very disturbing. I would inderstand a victim in such an assault being distraught and scared. However, I don't understand why an alleged victim would be soliciting donations online. I must be missing something here.

  • Just saying
    August 23, 2013 - 07:44

    I think the friend has more to say on this coincidence finding him in the wee hours unconscious. Did the victim call him? If you cut your hand and the doctor at the ER is suspicious I thought by law they have to call the police? As far as homophobic slurs and dislike for the LGBT community goes locally, it does exist here in very subtle sly mannerisms amongst the older population. Even as a straight male bachelor who lives alone I'm amazed at the speculation NL'ers pay to others private lives. The number one rumor you will always here in NL is "who is gay"? Incredibly sad and pathetic remnants from an ultra religious conservative past I guess.

  • Mike
    August 23, 2013 - 07:43

    The possibility of finding those men who attacked Blackburn gets a lot smaller the longer her refuses to be interviewed by the RNC. He should do the right thing for society and speak to the police and have them try to catch those men.

  • Viewer
    August 23, 2013 - 07:36

    The victim here claims to have little to no recollection of the events. I this case, how can he pin point that he was targeted because he is an openly gay man? Who's to say he wasn't targeted because, perhaps he was being ignorant. The last I checked, people who are openly gay can also be a**holes, just as much as any straight individual. I have no issue with the gay society, I have several friends who are openly gay, all of which who I love like siblings; however when something happens, people shouldn't always be claiming hate crimes.

    • AFriend
      August 23, 2013 - 10:55

      He never once claimed that it was a hate crime. Citizens claimed it was a hate crime. I find it disgusting that we are treating this poor guy like this. He has reported it to police, but he choose not to press charges at this time. None of us has been through what he has, and we cannot even begin to know how we would feel in the same situation. The the facts we know are... he was attacked after being called a F*G, this in itself is where we understang it would be a hate crime. A coworker found him in a bloodied mess, and he can confirm this. He went to find the police, in St John's that is only one street away... here in St John's there is a lot of police downtown as there are a lot of drunks down there. The police confirm that they did call an ambulance for him and he was attacked. This poor boy is terrified that he will be hunted down if he tries to press charges. Instead of people attacking this guy how about supporting him. He owes us nothing....I would love to see these people brought to justice... but attacking him is not making him anybetter. He has already been physically attacked... now... mentally attacked by the public. Where is the love people?

  • Billy
    August 23, 2013 - 07:21

    Something about this shocking story just doesn't add up to me, sorry. I am an openly gay man and luckily have had no serious incidents or negative occurrences living in St. John's as such. My heart sank when I first heard the news of this alleged attack. HOWEVER, I was surprised that someone who is afraid of further harassment, takes to youtube of all things and gives out his personal e-mail address on facebook asking for donations the very next day (both I personally observed). You share your story with the entire world online, but decline local media contact?! Mr. Blackburn you do not instill fear in a community and expect nobody will want answers... whatever they are.

    • steve
      August 23, 2013 - 08:28

      I am an openly straight male that totally agrees with you Billy. I say openly straight,just because I hope that makes us the same in peoples eyes.Equal in the eyes of society and the law.This man is doing nothing to further the issue of LGBT community to expose discrimination and hate.It appears more like some hidden agenda.This type of assault is dangerous and the culprits should be caught.Was it someone he knows and doesn,t want or is afraid to speak?Many gay people get assaulted by a partner or even a date,like many straight people do.This man needs to talk to police.

  • Me
    August 23, 2013 - 06:58

    It's not only the gay community that are afraid. How many others have been attacked while out for a walk? How many clerks in a corner store have been attacked? How many houses, cars, shed, cabins have been broken in to? Not all of them make the media?? The province is going downhill, and fast.

  • Cindy Babstock
    August 23, 2013 - 05:58

    I am outraged at what happened to this young man, this is a serious crime. I can certainly understand his fear of naming the person/persons responsible for such a act of violence but he needs to be forth coming with this information in order to stop such violence from happening to others.