SEATTLE - A man working the door of a bar broke up an attack in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood that police said was started because of the victim's race and sexual orientation.
Prosecutors are calling it a brutal hate crime.
A man who was working the door at the Comet Tavern at Tenth Avenue and Pike Street May 29, Danny Walters, said several men in their 20s were shouting obscenities at people passing by, but when they saw a black man, they became violent.
“They were harassing people as they walked by with homophobic slurs and just other harassments in general,” said Walters.
Five men, who are all white, turned their hostility on the black man, who the men believed was gay, police said.
"I heard some noise and I looked back and they were all jumping on him and yelling racial and homophobic things at him. So, I kind of jumped in and got like got a couple of them to scatter,” said Walters.
Walters said the victim was overwhelmed by a wave of hate.
“They were swarming on him, you know, punching him and kicking him. They had him on the ground at one point, kicking him in the head and that’s when I ran up,” said Walters.
Walters flagged down a Seattle police officer he knows from his job as a doorman, and more officers chased down five suspects as they were running away.
“To tell you the truth, if it was just a fight, without the racial and homophobic slurs, I wouldn’t have done anything,” said Walters.
Walters said he’s relieved the five men, who are all from out of state, were charged with malicious harassment.
The men told police they were homeless and came to Seattle for the Folklife Festival.
Two of the men were armed with knives and some had warrants from other states, police said.