Posted by Sal Trejo, the eight-second video shows a man standing outside Rest, a Salt Lake City nightspot, shortly after midnight on Sunday. Speaking to Trejo as the encounter is captured on a cellphone, the man asks, “Are you gay, though?”
When Trejo answers affirmatively, the man announces, “Oh, then, you’re gay.” He then appears to swing a fist at Trejo, knocking his phone to the ground.
Trejo elaborated on the claims in a second tweet Sunday, saying the man approached him and his friends unexpectedly and began “making homophobic and misogynistic comments towards our group.”
After the initial punch, “he then pulled out a knife and pointed it towards us,” Trejo wrote. “This man is dangerous and needs to be held accountable for his actions.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department said Monday that it “made contact” with the suspect, “who is cooperating fully with the investigation.”
Police didn’t release the suspect’s name or any identifying details but told local TV station Fox 13 that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
Trejo told The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday that he and his friends were not seriously hurt in the altercation, but he added, “The point here is he did hit me. He did get aggressive. And he did pull out a weapon.”
“As somebody who believes strongly in everybody’s equal rights, and as somebody who is very proudly gay — I never hide that part of me — it’s sad that it happened to me and my friends,” he said. “But I’m glad that it did in the sense that we can share our story and hopefully shed some light on this and get something happening to protect people.”
The alleged attack, meanwhile, has left members of Utah’s LGBTQ community rattled. Officials at the advocacy group Equality Utah wrote on Twitter that they were “deeply alarmed by the video” and that “we will work with Sal and law enforcement to ensure that justice prevails.”
State Sen. Derek Kitchen (D-Salt Lake City), who is gay, called the allegations “absolutely unacceptable” in a post on Facebook. “Our community must be safe from targeted violence. To be attacked simply for being gay violates our deepest shared values of decency and reiterates the urgency of including the LGBTQ+ community in our hate crimes law.”