Money raised for alleged beating victim

Tara
Tara Bradbury
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Pattrick Blackburn. — Submitted photo

Fundraisers have taken place in Halifax and Ottawa for alleged beating victim Pattrick Blackburn, but at least two money-raising efforts for him in this province have been discontinued.

Thirty-year-old Blackburn of St. John’s took to social media early last week to tell his story of having been beaten and left for dead under a bush at Rawlins Cross.

He was walking home during the wee hours on a Friday morning when he heard a group of men shout a homophobic slur at him, he said. 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 at Rawlins Cross and put him in his car, where he has said he took photos of Blackburn covered in blood before driving downtown to find a police officer. Police have confirmed they responded to the Mile One area, and called an ambulance to take Blackburn to hospital.

Blackburn said in an emotional YouTube video he was told he had undergone a blood transfusion and received 18 stitches in his forehead, and a nurse had told him he had been in danger of “bleeding out” and dying, had he arrived 10 minutes later. In the video, Blackburn was wearing a number of Band-Aids on his face, as well as a black eyepatch over his right eye, which he said was so damaged he was unable to see clearly from it.

Blackburn posted the photos said to have been taken by his friend in the back of the car, as well as a photo of his injuries, on his Facebook account. His YouTube video, and at least one other, allegedly posted the same night, have since been removed.

In the past week, members of the public have pointed out what they deem to be inconsistencies in Blackburn’s story and have accused him of faking the attack. Blackburn told The Telegram he was scared to leave his house on account of harassment, and said his email account and computer had been hacked. He declined an interview, and told The Telegram never to contact him again.

The RNC has said officers have contacted Blackburn numerous times in an effort to have him make a statement so they can investigate the incident, but he has refused. He posted on Facebook last week, “I have spoken to the police and there will be a statement an a on going (sic) investigation. 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.”

Local resident George Newman said he and his wife were shocked upon seeing Blackburn’s video shared on Facebook, and immediately took steps to help him. Newman has been involved in fundraisers for friends before, most recently musician Gene Browne, who lost his Paradise home to fire last year.

Newman contacted his musician friends with the hopes of compiling a digital album to release online, with all money raised going to Blackburn.

“To be clear, I have never met Pattrick. Ever. I trusted that what he had posted was true and he was a victim. I contacted him through Facebook to see if there was a PayPal email I could use to direct funds from the (album) I had compiled on his behalf,” Newman explained.

Newman said Blackburn directed him to a friend, who had already made a donation website in his aid. The website, which gave directions to donors to email funds directly to Blackburn’s email address with the security password in a second email, has since been removed. A request for comment from the friend was not returned as of press time. However, she did post a comment with the link to the fundraising website on a story about Blackburn that appeared on the Halifax Chronicle-Herald website last week, saying, “The support has been stupendous.”

After Newman received word from the friend that she was removing the donation website, he decided to shut down the album as well. At the time he pulled the project, it had collected $55, which had gone straight into a PayPal account the friend had set up for Blackburn.

“I saw a video of a man, whom I had never met, who allegedly was a victim of a hateful act of violence, and reacted with a kind gesture and a trusted, helping hand. That gesture has placed me under unwanted scrutiny,” Newman said.

He has since donated the album to St. John’s Pride Inc., to raise awareness and help members of the community in immediate need.

“This organization will provide the trust and transparency to accept our gift from the St. John's music community and allocate the revenue appropriately,” he said.

A fundraising event was held for Blackburn by Queer Ottawa last Friday. A Telegram editor emailed the organization Friday morning to ask if the event would be going ahead, given the controversy and lack of police report, and received a reply from Queer Ottawa executive director Elliott Youden confirming that it would go ahead as planned.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an ongoing police investigation,” Youden said.

When the editor referred him to an RNC statement issued that morning, saying police had yet to receive a formal complaint about the incident, Youden protested.

“The police have an interview with Pattrick scheduled. They have received numerous accounts and sources of information. Perhaps they have nowhere to go because they don’t care,” Youden said.

“I have nothing more to say to you. Please refrain from contacting me,” he added at the end of his email.

An email to Youden Tuesday evening, asking how much money was raised for Blackburn at the fundraiser, went unanswered.

On Wednesday, an RNC spokeswoman confirmed police have still not received an official complaint from Blackburn, and have not received statements from anyone else in relation to the incident.

In Halifax, a non-profit organization called the Imperial Sovereign Court of Atlantic Nova Society Inc. (ISCANS) — which is dedicated to helping people in need as well as charities — held a “Legends of the Silver Screen” event at a local nightclub in aid of Blackburn, a makeup artist and fitness instructor who once lived in Halifax. The event raised $353.05, which organizers said “will go to help Pattrick to recover from his injuries and help keep things OK until he can get back to work.”

Anyone with information on the alleged incident at Rawlins Cross in the early morning hours of Aug. 16 is asked to contact the RNC at

729-8000, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.

 

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Rawlins Cross, RNC, PayPal Halifax Chronicle-Herald Pride Inc. Atlantic Nova Society ISCANS Crime Stoppers

Geographic location: Halifax, Ottawa, St. John's

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Member of the Gay Community
    August 30, 2013 - 06:28

    As a member of the gay community I am very disturbed by this story. I truly hope the police FULLY investigate this matter to ensure that fraud is not taking place. Many kind hearted people are reaching out to help which is such a huge show of support and concern for our community! It would be absolutely disgusting if this man is taking advantage of people for his own financial gain and it would certainly cause many negative feeling towards the gay community which we do not need!! PLEASE, investigate this matter fully even without the cooperation of the "victim"

  • Les
    August 29, 2013 - 17:28

    This entire situation has been very upsetting for our LGBTQ Community. St Johns is among the Most accepting Cities in Canada. Newfoundlanders are some of the most caring people in the country. Our LGBTQ Community has come so far and provided so much support to our members. We are proud to say that there hasnt been a targeted bashing in many. many years. There needs to be a full investigation including for fraud.

  • ElGee
    August 29, 2013 - 17:11

    I don't know, you find someone bloody and unconscious on the side of the road, do you pick them up and put them in your car to find police officer, or do you call an ambulance? with an eyepatch that switches from eye to ye, to bandages covering stitches days after the attack, when there weren't stitches in the original scrubs photo? too much,

  • Ed
    August 29, 2013 - 15:01

    I am sorry that Mr Blackburn was hurt but something is just not setting right here. found in a bush and extreme bleeding that required blood transfusions. Why didn't the friend just call 911 this was a crime scene paramedics would have responded and so would have police which evidence could have been collected.

  • Fact or Fiction
    August 29, 2013 - 13:07

    since when did we all become detectives ? claiming someone placed bandages on themselves or claiming a hospital uses a certain type of bandage is outrageous. Regardless of the type of bandage placed on this poor guys head or the fact that he may have stumbled across his words in an interview or is now refusing help from his so called "helpful and caring community" is absolute bulshit. How is this man expected to come out and tell his story when we are not supportive of him or his circumstance or situation ? hes constantly in local media with such comments as "alleged" being thrown around. Isnt it bad enough that he was beat up for his sexuality ? is it not enough that he was beaten up at all ? regardless of his sexual preference i don't see any reason for anyone to make up such an elaborate story especially one involved around such hatred let alone the harm done to him. So people really think he made it up ? like WAKE THE HELL UP. This outrages me. We can't expect Patrick to want to discuss the matter further after being put through such emotional trauma. I hope for his sake when hes feeling better and ready that he does put in a formal complaint and posts a new video and puts you all to shame for claiming this couldn't be true. I dont know this young man but he has certainly been in my thoughts and prayers in the last few weeks. This kind of behaviour from your community at such a difficuilt time is outrageous. I think Patricks point was awarness not necessarily financial support.

  • someone who knows patt
    August 29, 2013 - 11:46

    I have been a friend of patts for many years and when I first saw what happened I quickly reached out to help. Now a couple weeks later I am very unsure about what happened. He says he got 18 stitches, the first picture he posted after getting out of the hospital he didn't have any stitches, then he shows a picture with bandages over the wound. How he explained not having it bandaged at the hospital is that he ripped his own IV out and signed himself out. I still don't think they would let you go without bandaging it, and they definitely didn't put in any stitches. Sorry patt, get in contact with the RNC and get the investigation under way or I call BS.

    • just me
      September 07, 2013 - 23:04

      glad to see his friends are standing up for whats right. which is the TRUTH. Come on Mr. Blackburn the citizens of St. Johns are NOT asking you to speak to the media just the RNC. Don't think we are asking too much considering we've been rallying suport for you.

  • Concerned
    August 29, 2013 - 11:41

    I completely agree with Jackson and Barney! This "incident" is going to make any other attack that happens in St.Johns questionable, meaning victims may not come out and say anything. By no means am I saying it never happened,it just seems rather fishy. A) the hospital wouldn't let you out that quickly if you had a blood transfusion, I was kept in the hospital overnight for a lot less. B) if anyone's friend found them bleeding that bad they would either a)call the ambulance from the exact location or b) rushed to the nearest hospital instead of driving around dt and further risking your life. C) how is there no police report? Even if you have difficulty remembering exact details, telling them what you do know is better than nothing. And what happened to the police report his friend supposedly made. And D) the thing that made it the most suspicious....why would someone take their rent downtown to a club on a Thursday? Or take it out of the bank when walking alone late at night after leaving a club? Again I am not saying that this didnt happen...it's just that a lot of the story doesn't add up. I am however concerned that because of the speculations surrounding this "incident" that if this happens to someone else they will not get the support they need.

  • I'm from Missouri
    August 29, 2013 - 11:37

    The story does not say whether or not the RNC have opened a formal investigation. The lack of cooperation impedes, but doesn't preclude a thorough investigation. That investigation might go in a different direction if police conclude that either no assault took place or that what transpired was connected to raising of money through social media. Newfoundlanders are always eager to help people in distress. Shame to see that generosity abused.

  • Jackson
    August 29, 2013 - 10:40

    As a member of the gay community for many more years than Mr. Blackburn has been alive I’m troubled by the division in the community that this incident has created. Mr. Blackburn put this story out there, nobody else. He claimed it was only meant for his friends, perhaps he is naïve or doesn’t fully understand social media…who knows. As someone who lived through the early years of the AIDS crisis of the late 70’s and early 80’s I can tell the victim or any of his generation more about hate, intolerance or injustice than they would want to hear! The times have changed dramatically and Mr. Blackburn’s actions in relation to this incident may have set us all back a step or two. There are many inconsistencies in Mr. Blackburn’s story that have caused troubling debate. I’m not going to repost them as they speak volumes on their own. Asking questions about the incident is not an attack on the victim. His YouTube video caused major concern for people’s sense of security and personal safety, gay &straight alike. I’m not attacking him but for that he is and should be accountable. The police have been criticized by some online posters for not protecting the LBGT community and reaching out . Mr. Blackburn has not given the police a statement to assist in any investigation, and while he has spoken to them it has been at their request. The media has been attacked, unjustly for their reporting of this incident. They have been portrayed as biased for using words such as “alleged & claimed”, words used every day in any news investigation. I have read personal attacks on at least two reporters online, totally unjustified. Every day that this is Mr. Blackburn allows this to continue is more erosion of his credibility. If an incident similar to this should happen again it may not be taken as seriously as it needs to be. That would be a tragedy!

    • that guy
      August 29, 2013 - 14:17

      Here here!

    • Joe
      August 29, 2013 - 20:17

      Well said.

    • me
      September 07, 2013 - 22:56

      Applause for you sir.

  • D
    August 29, 2013 - 10:04

    16 stitches in his forehead and the hospital gave him bandaids? pretty sure thats not how it works.. and if he was that serioulsy hurt would he actually be released from hospital that soon after almost bleeding to death?

    • Keanman
      August 29, 2013 - 18:46

      You don't leave dressings from the hospital on for days at a time. You change them daily. The pic/video you're referring to was from a couple days after the attack.

  • Steve
    August 29, 2013 - 08:36

    One important thing to note is that, for food safety reasons, all the bandages put on by hospital staff are BLUE (so they can be seen if they, say, get into someone's food). So, I guess we're supposed to believe he took the blue bandages off and applied some of his own for the photos? What an odd thing to do.

  • John
    August 29, 2013 - 08:22

    This is an awful story, he was obviously assaulted, but the fact he's being so standoffish to everyone asking questions is troubling. He's feeling free to post on social media about the attack and call it a gay bashing, yet won't elaborate on that. If people are perpetrating hate crimes in St. John's, they need to be found and punished. Way too many holes in this story.

  • G
    August 29, 2013 - 07:22

    There was something fishy about this whole incident from the very start. The onus is on you now, Patt to come forward with information in an attempt to sort out this controversy, or risk having your reputation ruined and damaging the progress the LGBT community has made in this city and this province - despite your real or supposed emotional hesitation, at this point amongst all of the negativity and confusion, you owe it to the city, the media, and the gay community. This story furthers the attitude that St. John's is becoming intolerant and hateful, when it is actually becoming more progressive and liberal each year. I'm afraid right now it appears you are being dishonest about something; if this isn't the case, do us and yourself a huge favour by figuring out a way put this whole issue to rest (if it's not already too late). You chose to use social media to start this process and you can use it now to clear the air - if not a lot of people will likely be saying "thanks Pattrick, for spreading fear and an air of homophobia throughout the city, at a time when equality and tolerance have never been better". Please fix this.

  • Barney
    August 29, 2013 - 06:56

    oh oh who is being investigated now. One thing that I question is why his friend would put him in his car, proceed to take pictures of a man who is "supposedly" bleeding out and then drive downtown to find a police officer when a hospital was closer!! It just doesn't make sense. Also, what hospital bandages someone up like that and I know for sure they don't have eye patches like the one this fella had on in his video. Something doesn't add up and I hope they find out.

  • Too many
    August 29, 2013 - 06:25

    Too many questions. Who takes pics of a friend that is injured? If he was that bad, why not go straight to hospital? How did the friend find under a bush in the wee hours of the morning? It's wonderful that people are willing to help but be careful.