“If you don’t treat me right, my people will get you.”
A crowdfunding campaign for trans activist Sophia Gabrielle Stanford raised close to $10,000 after the activist allegedly experienced a “brutal and aggressively blatant hate crime,” in February.
According to the GoFundMe page, Stanford was attacked and beaten unconscious with a baseball bat in southeast Portland. Her story went viral on social media, leading to thousands of dollars in donations to the campaign.
But a report in the New York Post this week is casting doubts on Stanford’s claims – specifically the key inconsistencies arising between Stanford’s account of the attack and the police investigation that followed.
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According to the report, emergency services received a call in the early morning hours of Feb. 10 about a woman, later identified as Stanford, laying on a sidewalk with scrapes on her face and knuckles. The police report of the incident paints a very different picture when compared to Stanford’s account.
Responding officer Edgar Mitchell noted that Stanford smelled of alcohol.
“I asked Officer Zachary Roe what happened,” the report said. “Roe said the individual admitted to being intoxicated, and Roe believed the person fell and hit her head.”
While Stanford refused to tell responding officers her name, officers claim she made threats to the first responders on scene.
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“If you don’t treat me right, my people will get you,” she told police, according to the report.
The report indicated that Stanford was also in possession of a bag and pistol, which she lost during the alleged attack. A local resident later found the items and turned them over to police. When police attempted to return the items to Stanford at a nearby hospital where she had been transported, she was already discharged.
The next day, a GoFundMe campaign, which included the alleged details of the attack, was started on Stanford’s behalf. According to the campaign, Stanford suffered a “serious concussion,” and would be required to undergo intensive physical therapy, CT scans and counseling.
But the case, which was investigated by the bias-crimes unit, was suspended after police failed to track down any leads that could corroborate Stanford’s story. The subsequent police report does not contain any information that Stanford was attacked with a baseball bat in a potential hate crime.
Stories of alleged hate-crimes are on the rise in progressive Portland, according to journalist Andy Ngo. “In progressive Portland where the “#Resistance” is mainstream, stories like Stanford’s feed into a whisper campaign of violent homophobes, transphobes and racists lurking on every corner. A moral panic had now been ignited,” Ngo wrote in the New York Post report cataloguing Bruso and Stanford’s stories.
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“Within days, the number of alleged hate attacks ballooned through uncorroborated and vague online rumors. These stories were then amplified by progressive media, nonprofit groups, businesses and politicians,” Ngo added. “Activists, driven by their own personal grievances, then launched a crusade to find the phantom suspects, doxing and targeting innocent people in the process.”
Just days after Stanford was allegedly attacked, a self-described fat-queer activist, Jenny Bruso, claimed in a viral social media post to have been the victim of a hate crime.
According to Bruso, two white men in an SUV pulled up to her and her partner at a busy intersection and called her a homophobic slur before throwing a beer can at her partner’s face. Bruso says her partner was knocked down by the impact, and shared a picture of her alleged injuries to social media.
QUEER AND TRANS PEOPLE IN PORTLAND: My partner, Brie, was just attacked by two young white men in a maroon Bronco or Suburban at SE 7th & Madison. She was walking to her car after work and they pulled up beside her, yelled “DIE FUCKING DYKE!” and threw an unopened beer can at pic.twitter.com/a6JqS1blbS
— Jenny Bruso (@jenny_bruso) February 18, 2019
While Bruso claims to have reported the incident to police, the New York Post was unable to find evidence of the existence of a case number associated with the incident. The New York Post also tried to independently verify her claims, but nobody at businesses located along the intersection witnessed the attack.
Bruso later deleted the post from Facebook after commenters questioned her story.
An intense public debate over the frequency of hate crime hoaxes has erupted in the wake of the Jussie Smollett case. The “Empire” star claimed to have been attacked by two white men near his Chicago home in January. After police initially investigated the case as a hate crime, suspicion started to turn to the possibility that Smollett staged the attack.
The actor was later charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false statement, but charges were unexpectedly and controversially dropped last week by the Cook County State Attorney’s office.
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