Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Gay-Bashed in St. Martin

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Gay-Bashed in St. Martin

Article excerpt

In the early hours of April 6, gay CBS Evening News producer Dick Jefferson and gay 48 Hours staffer Ryan Smith were attacked in an apparent gay bashing on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Smith and his boyfriend, Justin Swensen, were taunted by a group of men inside Bamboo Bernie's nightclub, after which Smith and Jefferson were attacked with a tire iron outside. Smith suffered brain damage; Jefferson spoke to The Advocate before returning to the island to file an official statement with police, whom he and others have accused of a slow response. At press time, one suspect was in custody.

How are you holding up?

I'm in crisis mode now. I've just been focusing on getting the story out there and, of course, on Ryan's recovery. Once it's settled down, Ill have a very long cry.

How did the incident start?

I was walking over to meet Ryan and our friends and I saw people throwing things at them. A guy got out of this white car with a tire wrench and I remember thinking What in the hell is going on? Then he whacked me on the head with the iron. Ryan was coming to see if I was OK and they got him too. The next thing I remember, I was holding my head, bleeding profusely--and then waking up in the hospital

What injuries did you suffer?

I had a skull fracture--they had to suck fragments of my skull out and put a quarter-size piece of titanium in my head. My CAT scans are good, but t have a real nasty scar, and I'll have to take antiseizure medicine for a long time to come.

Was the apparent inaction by police a sign of homophobia or negligence? …

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