A man who allegedly attacked a lesbian couple at a NFL game has been charged under the state of Washington hate crime statute.
Prosecutors charged the 34-year-old with second-degree assault and malicious harassment after he allegedly groped one of the women and punched the other in the face.
The attack allegedly took place during a game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals on December 30.
The man, identified as Jay Dee Harp III in local media, was taken into custody with a $25,000 bail. He was bailed out the next day, but a judge then increase the bail to $100,000 after learning details of the alleged attack.
The couple had gone to see the NFL game at the CenturyLink Field stadium along with one of the women’s mother.
The man, described as wearing Arizona Cardinals attire, was sitting in their row and allegedly began harassing them early in the game as he passed them to get various rounds of beer.
The alleged hate crime was due to homophobia
According to the couple, the man asked them, “Do you need a man in your life?” as well as using homophobic slurs and making references to his genitalia.
The sexual assault allegedly took place during the third quarter, when the man was passing them after returning from buying a drink.
As reported in court documents quoted in local media, the man grabbed one of the women by her jacket, unzipping it and grabbing her breast. As she tried to push him off, he allegedly threw his beer in her face.
The woman’s wife then reportedly told him not to “put hands on my wife” and other members of the audience joined in to contain the man to the ground.
Around 17 percent of the more than 7,100 instances of hate crime reported in the US in 2017 were due to anti-LGBT bias.
Jay Dee Harp III, however, freed himself from one of the NFL fans’ grip, stood up and allegedly punched the woman’s wife in the face, causing her a nose bleed, cut and a chipped tooth.
Members of the audience then restrained the man again and called out to a state trooper, who was followed to the scene by another state trooper and a local police deputy.
As a state trooper was restraining him, the man once again opposed resistance and allegedly cursed at the official and punched him in the stomach. Officers then used a taser on the man, who was described as “highly intoxicated,” and proceeded to handcuff him.
Hate crimes in the US against LGBT+ people have been on the increase in the past few years, according to FBI data. Around 17 percent of the more than 7,100 instances of hate crime reported in the US in 2017 were due to anti-LGBT bias.