Prejudice hinders Law

Manchester Police Victimize Gay Robbery Victim

05-197208xx-3In the early hours of July 16th, 23-year-old John Ash left his two lesbian friends outside the Picador, a gay club in Manchester. He began to walk through town to catch his bus home. In Sackville Street he was approached by five youths who suddenly surrounded him and demanded his wallet. The street was deserted and they began to push and kick him. John was carrying £7, which he gave them. They then ran off.

John reported the incident to the police shortly afterwards, and was interviewed by a member of the C.I.D. The policeman asked where he had been and who with. John replied and when the police asked the names of the girls he had been with earlier, John gave them.

The policeman then asked, “Are either of those ladies your girlfriend?” When John replied that they were not, the policeman said, “Mr. Ash, are you a homosexual?”

John said that he was, but could not see why that was relevant to the robbery. The interview went on, and the policeman eventually told John that his story was not consistant. The policeman brusquely asked him why he had not cried out or ran away.

John was by this time not only shaken by the robbery but also bewildered by the aggressive and antagonistic police questioning. John explained that there was no time to cry out, and that the street was deserted anyway. As for running away – he was encircled by the heavily-booted boys.

The police would not accept this, despite the obvious evidence of John’s cuts and grazes. John left the police station convinced that they had no intention of trying to find the robbers.

He wrote to Gerald Kaufmann, his M.P., who has said that he will take the matter up directly with the Chief Constable.

The implications of this are grim. Although the police ask for public cooperation in this sort of robbery, the fact that you are homosexual obviously affects the police attitude.

Suffice to say that none of John Ash’s gay friends in Manchester would now appeal to the police for any assistance whatsoever.