Gay couple attacked in Portland for holding hands

Portland police say they’re investigating a possible hate crime against two men who were attacked while walking in a public park holding hands.

Detectives say Brad Forkner, 23, and Christopher Rosevear, 25, were walking hand-in-hand Sunday evening, May 22, in Waterfront Park and then headed over the Hawthorne Bridge.

As the pair walked, police say, they noticed several men behind them who were talking, laughing and pointing, but they weren’t sure if it was directed at them.

Police say the attack occurred as the couple walked from the bridge to the trail toward the East Bank Esplanade.

The pair told officers the men pushed and punched Forkner before he managed to break away and call 911.

Police say the attackers hit Rosevear in the head, face, back and ribs before running away.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who is openly gay, issued a statement saying that “any two people in Portland should be able to take a walk, hand in hand, without fearing for their safety.”

“It’s too bad that people are still walking around a city like Portland feeling, well, actually unsafe,” Paul Fukui, the operations manager of the Q-Center, told reporters.  He said a similar assault on two gay men in downtown Portland happened a year ago, prompting the creation of “Q Patrols” that walk the city’s entertainment district late at night.

Fox 12 news said there have been eight reported bias crimes in Portland from Jan. 1 to April 30. That number was down from 15 during the same time span last year.