Gay Man Says Assault in WeHo Last Night Was Hate Crime

Christopher Burton / de la Cruz (Facebook)
Christopher Burton / de la Cruz (Facebook)

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department is investigating claims of a possible hate crime near Pavilions grocery store last night.

Christopher Burton, a gay man who also identifies himself as Christopher de la Cruz, posted on his Facebook page around 1 a.m. today about the attack.

“Tonight as I was headed to my car I was attacked and harassed,” he said. “And my face (was) pushed to the ground and punched several times. They tried to put a knife against my face but (I) was lucky enough to run and get away. Please watch out and always make sure you have someone with you at night. My cards were taken from me and I don’t know who or where they went. Please share and help me find the a**holes who attacked me tonight in West Hollywood.”

Sgt. Enrique Mandujan of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said someone there saw the Facebook post and reached out to Burton, who filed a report about the attack today. Mandujan said an investigation is ongoing to determine exactly where the attack took place and exactly what happened. He said it apparently happened somewhere near Robertson Boulevard and Keith Avenue.

Burton described the attack as a hate crime. “It was a scary and very traumatic experience,” he wrote on Facebook. “It is crazy how hate crimes are still happening and to be picked on and physically abused for being gay is an awful feeling. The support by those around me has been overwhelming and I am very humbled and thankful for the support.” As of publication, WEHOville has been unable to reach Burton for a comment.

Burton’s Facebook post attracted dozens of comments, some complaining that West Hollywood was no longer a safe place at night. A rash of assaults and cell phone and wallet thefts last year prompted the Sheriff’s Station to step up patrols in the city’s gay nightlife area, known as Boystown. Sheriff’s Capt. Holly Perez has said the station has implemented more foot patrols by deputies.

Burton is catering and events coordinator at The Abbey and also co-founder of Big Heart Event Productions.


24 Comments
  1. There should be a policy to make Weho and the bars 100% gay we will be fine then! but going to the bars and seeing str8 guys then someone walk up to them and they str8 i mean Mickey’s, rage and the abbey are more str8 club’s now then gay! It’s like str8 people don’t have enough bars its so annoying that i stopped going to gay bars this is our safe spot and now gay bars are 50/50 we need our safe spot and i live in weho and i would say 80% of my neighbors are str8! its so annoying I don’t even go to gay bars anymore i don’t think they older generation had that problem
    need to be dealt with somehow

  2. It is so sad this is happening in my neighborhood, I wish I was their to help, I would have loved to run them over with my car.

  3. I was thinking the same thing about taking a pic of yourself and then going on Facebook. Sort of minimizes the situation, I think. How about calling the cops for help first. It’s just strange.

  4. I would first like to say Great Post Cy you made an important point and, I can use HTML too on my postings!

    I am having a serious problem with attempts to blame the victim here, the behavior of Mr.Christopher Burton is very consistent with individuals of an oppressed group of people who have been victimized by the oppressive dominant group. First off there is a great deal of shame of being a victim in the first place and denial is not to be unexpected. Mistrust of the law enforcement and other power structures is seen with Women when they are the victims of violent sexual assault and, them turn to something like social media or anything they are comfortable with for support. Even if such choices in retrospect are not good ones.

    Christopher Burton is not alone and many in West Hollywood are willing to stand by him and make sure he is not alone in this fight!

  5. Good point, @Christopher. If this was indeed as serious as he is claiming, then he completely undermined everything by seeking attention before seeking help. Then again, I think we all need to be sensitive to how people can behave when they’re in shock and not jump to conclusions and make judgments.

  6. Feel bad for the guy, and don’t mean to be insensitive, but I’m always amazed how social media is the first response. I certainly wouldn’t be thinking about taking a selfie and writing about it on facebook. I suppose this is how it is in this generation, but it always seems incredibly odd to me.

  7. Let the police do their investigation and come up with the results but it sure seems strange that the police had to read a Facebook post to get a drift of this event. It was obviously not serious enough for the guy to call the sheriff or go back inside pavilions for help.

  8. When we have an occurrence of a HATE CRIME or even an alleged hate crime it becomes the jurisdiction of the FBI and, they can be obligated to follow up on it. Clearly the financial resources of protecting West Hollywood will NOT be impacted by the following up on hate crimes. Now we have a clear cut case of innocent people being harmed here purely on the basis Sexual Orientation or perceived Sexual Orientation. Now if you want see some real whiners who call on government intervention on their behalf all the time, look no further than conservative white males who cry “terrorism” every time they lose a fight they pick with African Americans or Muslims! In this case the Department of Homeland Security (a wasteful government program to employ angry white males to harass Arabs) jumps to aide to any and all rednecks who genuinely deserve to be beaten up, as in they were engaging in a hate crime at the time their intended victim turned the tables on them! In West Hollywood we have innocent people going about their own business when singled out for a hate crime and, unquestionably deserving of serious intervention on their behalf! This would be a completely uncontested FACT if the perpetrators of the HATE CRIMES were NOT white males inspired by right-wing religious and political ideology.

    The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, 18 U.S.C. § 249, was enacted as Division E of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. Section 249 of Title 18 provides funding and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to help them to more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes! The law was enacted in response to two brutal bias-motivated crimes. In one, a white male gang tortured and killed Matthew Shepard, a student in Wyoming, because they believed he was gay. In the other, two white supremacists dragged James Byrd, Jr., an African American man, behind a truck, eventually decapitating him. Federal authorities were unable to prosecute either of these horrendous crimes under the then-existing 1969 Federal Hate Crimes Law.

    The 1969 Federal Hate Crimes Law gave the U.S. Department of Justice the power to investigate and prosecute defendants who selected their crime victim based on the victims race, color, religion, or national origin. In contrast to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 under the 1969 Federal Hate Crimes Law, the victims must have been engaged in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school. In Matthew Shepard’s murder, the murderers were motivated by his sexual identity, not by any of the protected categories. James Byrd, Jr. was not engaged in a federally-protected activity when he was lynched and killed. The Matthew Shepard Act expanded the 1969 Federal hate crime Law to cover these and other types of brutal murders. Specifically the Act:

    * expanded the list of covered crimes to include those motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and
    * removed the federally-protected activity requirement.

    Other noteworthy aspects of the Matthew Shepard Act:

    * It provided more money to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
    * It required the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (the FBI already tracked hate crimes against other groups).
    * It was the first federal law to provide protections to transgender people.

    The statute criminalizes only violent acts resulting in bodily injury or attempts to inflict bodily injury, through the use of fire, firearms, explosive and incendiary devices, or other dangerous weapons. The statute does not criminalize threats of violence. Threats to inflict physical injury may be prosecutable under other hate crimes statutes, such as 42 U.S.C. § 3631 or 18 U.S.C. § 245. Such threats may also be prosecutable under generally applicable federal laws preventing interstate communication of threats.

  9. I strongly support fine7760’s comments. People should be willing and able to protect themselves since we can’t rely on the Sheriffs to do so. Also, Lindsey Horvath evidently is too busy and self-absorbed to deal with local problems; she’d rather grab headlines by censoring free speech and stifle citicens’ constitutional rights. She should be dealing with with local problems rather than self-promotion and fascist actions. And, btw, what evidence is there that this is a hate crime?

  10. Something seems very strange about this guys account of what happen. Punched multiple times, small scratch on his face? Hmmm things aren’t adding up to me. He gets mugged and shortly after he has time to write a paragraph about it on Facebook and take a selfie??n

  11. I don’t buy it. He was on the 10 pm news the next day and he didn’t look the slightest bit scruffed up. I bet he rolled around the dirt a little and closed his eye to fake this.

    Still, it’s kind of dangerous around the bars at night. But it’s not necessarily homophobia, the bigger danger comes from other gay men – some of whom choose to rob and assault.

  12. Have you called the Weho police before? Every time I have called them when something awful has happened they have done nothing. My House was broken into a block from there…and i was robbed. The police said Me or my partner probably did it. When we found out who did it, had a name and everything, police said we didn’t have enough proof and couldn’t do anything. Had a roommate for a week who went psychotic, threatened to kill my dog and everything. Police said they couldn’t do anything. I can’t blame this dude for not going to the police.

  13. Why would it take the sheriff’s dept. to see a FB post and reach out to him!? Valuable evidence and time potentially lost. I’m confused.

  14. Reported all incidents to the Police/Sheriff immediately.

    Doing so allows law enforcement the opportunity to respond quickly while the perpetrators may still be in the area.

  15. To Christopher- Know that you survived and will rise above it. This, coming from a fellow survivor of a brutal hate crime in 2010. Paranoia and fear may set in and last for some time. I still turn my head around when I hear someone jogging near me (even when I walk to Pavilions to shop). But you don’t have to be a victim to the assault. You’re doing an amazing job paying it forward and informing the public of your experience.

    To Captain Perez- I echo @Jimmy Palmieri and @Mimi. While we can’t fully prevent crimes/attacks/hate, we can find/prosecute/sentence criminals. We need your leadership. Now.

  16. Terrible. Another hate crime in WeHo and it’ll be interesting to see if the new captain really takes action here or if it’s more of the same old non-responsive nonsense.

    Perhaps if John Duran didn’t have his nose in grindr during council meetings, and perhaps if the city wasn’t inundated with lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit from former deputies claiming sexual harassment and innapropriate firings, the city would be safer place for all of us. You can’t tell me that that the singular focus of the third floor on these lawsuits and the in-fighting among council members and the city manager who is clearly asleep at the switch are not part of the reason crime has yet to be abated in our city. They need to focus on PRIORITIES!

  17. I feel bad for Christopher. Nobody deserves to be attacked,robbed or assaulted. But why he didn’t go to police right away? Instead of posting it on FB he could’ve gone to police right away! There are bunch of Sheriffs on foot patrol and on Robertson BL!

  18. Christopher, my heart goes out to you, bud. We have considered WeHo as a safe place for us to be. There have been some nasty incidents over the years; but there are always those who will hurt us and the cops were not always there for us as now. Take it easy, and feel better soon. We must a;; be vigilant at all times, even in WeHo. Report every incident like this else bad folks will think we are easy pickings.

  19. This is why It’s time to WAKE UP, This is so sad.
    this is our city West Hollywood ???
    Yes, it is here, NOT in North Carolina and NOT the first time.

    Hate is everywhere, and what scary it’s going to get worst.

    People can call me crazy, i really don’t care, what i care about is what’s next????
    Keep talking? yes, we will have few new cameras on some of our streets, Is this going to stop the hate? very simple, NO.

    EDUCATION. PROVENTION is the only answers to stop the hate.
    keep printing brochures and have them “sitting” in the city hall, it’s waste of time and money.

    i love the idea that we will have few cameras install, I’m not sure but if i remember current 11-13 of them, it’s great , but the only thing it will do, it will make it easier to find who did the crime.

    It’s just like our city hall, a government building, after we lost 14 amazing men and women in San Bernardino, i requested to do something, i went and talk to our staff, the promised to update me, I’m still waiting for the phone call from them, it’s been since DEC 2. 2015.
    This is our real issues.
    all what we got is cameras and one security man at city hall , if a real “crazy” man, or a terrorist walk in the building NO ONE IS SAFE. we have our resident walking everyday to pay parking tickets on the first floor, amazing people working on the first floor, NO ONE IS SAFE.
    What are we waiting for, for something to happened so thing will start happening? so we can feel safe in our OWN CITY.
    it is not safe in our city, our crime went up, 4.8% and again it’s all about people cars, The “phone” drama at the ABBEY, Let’s get real.
    we had few women ASSAULTED in our WEHO in the last few months, NO ONE is talking about those women, WHY???
    LET’S TALK ABOUT PEOPLE LIVES, LGBT or NOT.

    Last and not least, we must have a better system in our sheriff station, it take about 4 hours to write one report, this is 2016, people.
    WE CAN DO MUCH BETTER THEN THIS.
    BE SAFE, WEST HOLLYWOOD!
    love, nir from the “nir show”
    i hope to see everyone in my own house April 17. 2016 (next week) for “enough is enough” where you, we, us will talk actions and results.
    for more info about our event contact me at 818 613 8713.
    Sunday, April 17 at 3 PM – 5 PM
    Love NO Hate
    nir zilberman

  20. again we see further evidence that those in the gay community need to arm themselves with what ever weapon they feel safe in using. The idea that the gay community should not use means to defend one self and perhaps use deadly force is pure stupidity. How many lives are to be lost or scared for life in support of a agenda to just take it?

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