Victim: Atlantic Station gay bashing ‘not big deal’

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The 50-year-old Decatur man who was gay bashed in Atlantic Station on Saturday at first told Atlanta police that the altercation was “not a big deal,” but later received five stitches at a hospital. The description of the incident by the victim, John Mark Parker, was included in a report detailing the incident released Tuesday by the Atlanta Police Department. The report included a brief narrative from responding Officer R. Harris:

The victim stated [he] was walking in the West district area near Atlantic, when he asked a couple for directions. Mr. Parker advised that the male asked him, “Are You Gay” Mr. Parker replied “Yes” that’s when the subject a W/M punched him in his face. Mr. Parker Stated he fell to the ground and struck his head. Mr. Parker advised several times that it was not a big deal, and did not want medical treatment. Grady unit 282 transported Mr. Parker to Emory University Hospital for treatment.
Parker was at Atlantic Station to attend the Fenuxe Fire Party in the former Fox Sports Grill. After the assault, Parker met with friend Paul Swicord, who detailed the incident in a statement to media outlets on Sunday. Swicord said the assailant asked Parker, “Are you a fag?” Swicord also said that an Atlantic Station security guard first attempted to eject him and Parker from the venue and then was hesitant to file a report or call Atlanta police. He also said that an off-duty uniformed Atlanta police officer was hesitant to take action or file a report. But Swicord and Philip Rafshoon, a longtime LGBT activist and business owner, insisted and called Atlanta police LGBT liaison Officer Brian Sharp, who spoke with the off-duty officer. “There was no compassion in this security officer for the victim. He was reluctant to take a report and document the incident,” Swicord said. On Sunday, a spokesperson for Atlantic Station said witnesses were providing “conflicting information” about the incident. A day later, the retail center disputed allegations that its security guard mishandled the incident and said “our own public safety officers handled the incident according to protocol and were respectful to all parties involved.” A suspect has not been identified in the incident. But the police report notes that surveillance cameras are located in the area where the attack took place.

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