A gay man was left blinded by pepper spray for three hours after he and his friend were attacked by five other men in San Francisco.
Neil Frias and Jeff White, from New York, were attacked in the street on Saturday. The two 28 year olds were celebrating an annual leather themed LGBT party at the Folsom Street Fair when they were attacked at around 9 pm.
“I’m trying to make sense of it,” Frias told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I would think what happened last night would happen somewhere else, not here.”
The couple were leaving McDonalds when a blue van with five men inside pulled up. The men shouted “you fags are destroying family values” and then sprayed pepper spray in their faces.
“I said I didn’t want any trouble, and one of them got out of the van. I thought he was going to take a swing at me, but he sprayed me across the face.”
The two were sprayed more than once and one man attempted to attack White who had curled into a ball to protect his head and face. “I was completely vulnerable,” White said. “I thought they were going to start beating me.”
A female witness called the police which drove the attackers away.
Frias, who described the attack as one of the scariest moments of his life, was blinded for three hours by the attack. “To think that people have so much hatred inside of them to target people.
“The thing that was the most remarkable about the situation is how unprovoked it was. “I was literally tying my shoe when they came at me. It’s mind-boggling.”
Spokesperson for the San Fransisco police, Carlos Manfredi, said: “We take these crimes very seriously. If anybody feels they can attack someone based on their sexual preference, we’re going to go after them and hold them accountable.”