Police arrested a 20-year-old man
Saturday morning and charged him with a hate crime after he allegedly
beat a woman he believed was gay in gay-friendly Provincetown,
Massachusetts, the Cape Cod
Police say Eric L. Patten was drunk
when he came upon two women outside the Post Office Cafe &
Cabaret shorty after 1AM. Patten yelled anti-gay slurs as he
approached the pair. He grabbed one of the women and smashed her
into the sliding window of the cafe, shattering it and injuring the
woman, police say.
A large crowd quickly gathered and
someone flagged down a passing police cruiser.
When officers arrived on the scene,
Patten was “punching a woman on the ground beneath the window of
the Post Office Cafe,” Provincetown police Sergeant Carrie Lopes
The officers pried away Patten, who
fought them, kicking one and spitting at the other.
“Patten was screaming biased anti-gay
language,” Lopes said. “We took him into custody as quickly as
possible, so he would not incite the large crowd that was gathering.”
Police say witnesses to the hate crime
were visibly disturbed.
“There were all these women crying,”
Lopes said. “They were just very agitated and visibly upset, not
just by what they saw but by what they heard.”
“That's the thing with a hate crime,
it's not just the victim who is hurt, the whole community is
Provincetown is considered to be the
gay mecca of New England. Massachusetts lawmakers adopted hate crime
legislation that protects gay and lesbian victims of violent crimes.
A bill that would add transgender protections is currently being
debated in the Legislature.
Patten was taken into custody and
charged with assault with a dangerous weapon (a window), assault and
battery under hate crime statute, wanton destruction of property of
more than $250, disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police
officer, and resisting arrest. Patten is scheduled to face a judge
during an arraignment hearing Tuesday in an Orleans District
The victim and her friend were
reportedly treated for minor injuries at Cape Cod Hospital.