A potential hate crime in which a perpetrator assaulted and used homophobic language against a Georgetown student off campus the night of Oct. 31 is being investigated by the Georgetown University Police Department and the Metropolitan Police Department.
A campuswide email sent Nov. 1 from GUPD Chief Jay Gruber and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson classified the incident as a hate crime due to the language used during the assault. They also wrote that the suspects were not members of the Georgetown community.
A group of suspected juveniles attacked the student between 34th and Prospect streets NW on Halloween, temporarily seizing the victim’s backpack, then removing and breaking a laptop inside.
MPD and Metro Transit Police apprehended a group of suspects during the early hours of Nov. 1 at the Foggy Bottom Metro station. The MPD took the report and is leading the investigation with assistance from GUPD.
Although Gruber could not disclose details of the assault because of the ongoing investigation, he said the incident was classified as a hate crime because it specifically targeted an aspect of the student’s identity.
“Anytime somebody is disparaged because of their race, their religion, their ethnicity, their gender, their gender orientation, if we believe any of that’s involved, then we consider it a hate crime,” Gruber said.
Gruber said the suspects face charges of assault, robbery and destruction of property, and could potentially face jail time if convicted. Convicted juveniles would be processed through Washington, D.C.’s juvenile justice system.
GU Pride issued a statement on Facebook extending its support to community members whose identities make them vulnerable to violence.
“This event is a sobering reminder that the threat of violence is very real for our community, especially for the more visible trans, gender nonconforming and members of color, especially Black members of our community,” the statement reads. “The threat is close to home.”
Gruber said the last incidents in the area to involve targeted attacks by a large group of people occurred last year on Halloween night when two robberies occurred between 37th and N streets NW and 36th and Prospect streets by a group of masked assailants.
Gruber attributed the spike in crimes during Halloween to the increased activity in the area.
“One thing that Halloween in Georgetown does is attract a lot of people from all over the District and all over the national capital region down to the M Street and Wisconsin Avenue corridor,” Gruber said. “These are outsiders from our area, and we don’t typically see this type of activity in our area.”