Newport man fought to stop anti-gay attack

Newport man fought to stop anti-gay attack

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by Abbey Gibb

kgw.com

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 28 at 11:42 AM

PORTLAND -- Laying on the ground, bleeding and wincing in pain.

That's what Andrew Smith was left with after stepping in to stop a bias crime during the wee hours last Saturday.

"You see someone getting bullied, you help," he said calmly from his Newport home.

Police tell KGW two men stopped a third on the street near NW 2nd and Flanders. They asked the man for directions and then asked if the man was gay. When he respond "yes" Smith said he heard some of the most hateful comments imaginable.

"Then they started grabbing and pulling [him] and pushing and shoving. This guy is saying, 'Why are you picking on me because I'm gay?'" Smith was visiting from Newport and crossed the street to step in, but that's when he said the men turned on him.

"I swung with my left hand and hit him in his left eye, and then they take me to the ground. I keep getting smashed in the side of the head and the side of my ear, against the concrete and smashed in the ribs. All I can hear is this gentleman, the gay man behind me, saying, "Stop kicking him. Someone call police, stop kicking him.' Then all of a sudden it was over, it was just done and they were gone," he said.

Portland police arrived and arrested the two accused attackers just down the street. Christian Sanchez-Villavicencio, 21, and 28-year-old Shawn Siefke both pleaded not guilty to assault and intimidation charges on Monday.

This is the second bias crime in Portland in just a few weeks, leaving gay rights activists like Barbara McCullough-Jones from Portland’s Q Center frustrated.

"Part of that is I think the community is becoming more visible and there are just some people who feel emboldened," McCullough-Jones said.

The attack left Smith briefly hospitalized at OHSU.

"I suffered some lacerations to the ear and on the head and my knee is pretty jacked up and I have some bruised ribs," he said.

Despite that, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat, because it was the right thing to do. But that doesn't mean at points he wasn't scared.

"All I was thinking was, "Will I ever see my son and my girlfriend ever again," he holds back tears as he continues. "And if I can't get up what will happen to this guy?"

But thanks to him, no one will have to worry about that. On Monday, Smith talked over the phone to the man he rescued and said the man thanked him for saving his life. They plan to remain friends.

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