Restaurant worker pelted with homophobic abuse, brutally beaten and kicked in the mouth. His boss fired him for it

Emma Powys Maurice July 2, 2020
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Jaquan Walker allegedly lost his job over the homophobic attack (Screenshot: WSVN)

A restaurant worker who was subjected to an “anti-gay battery” by homophobic customers has allegedly lost his job over the shocking incident.

Jaquan Walker, 24, worked as a cashier at the Washington Avenue branch of BurgerFi restaurant in Miami Beach.

On June 28 he was taking orders for a table of men when they tried to antagonise him, and it quickly descended into a homophobic brawl.

“They tell me that I need to put bass in my voice,” he told WSVN Miami. “They was saying [expletive]. They just said a whole bunch things. ‘Oh, we’re going to kill you. Oh, we’ll beat you up. You’re gay. You shouldn’t be gay. How tall are you?'”

Walker backed away, but when he returned to the dining area he says the men attacked.

Video footage captured on a mobile phone shows chairs being thrown at Walker. The men hurled him around the restaurant and threw him to the floor, beating and kicking him as he lies prone. Another member of staff tries to intervene but the men appear to ignore him and continue attacking Walker.

“I had scars on my neck. My arm was bruised,” he said. “I still have pain on the side of my ribs, and I have cuts inside my mouth from them kicking me in my mouth and things.”

The fight was peppered with homophobic slurs and hate speech. Angered by the hateful abuse, Walker threw a chair at the men as they leave the restaurant. “I was so mad. I was embarrassed,” he said.

He then walked over to the nearby Miami Beach Police headquarters to file a criminal complaint. Police have described the incident as an “anti-gay battery”, and are now searching for the two customers involved.

Although the men appear to have instigated the fight, Walker was shocked to learn that he would be disciplined for it. He learned shortly after that that awful day at work would be his last.

“My boss fired me,” he said. “It makes me feel bad. I come to work. I work. I mind my business. I don’t mess with nobody. I was a good worker. I was always there on time. It’s scary because you never know how far it can go.”

He’s now concerned that he may be unable to find another job during the pandemic.

Anyone with information about the battery is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.






Related topics: Hate crime, Homophobia, Miami, Miami Beach, workplace discrimination

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