Michael Phillips (right) and his husband Derek Winton. (KPTV)
Jeremy Cline, jail booking photo (Photo: Portland Police Bureau)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
A Portland man says he was attacked by a stranger in downtown Portland early Wednesday as he walked home from the gay bar where he works.
Michael Phillips is a bartender at Silverado near Southwest 3rd & Oak. He told Fox 12 he got off work around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and started walking home, like he does every night, but only made it about a block and a half before a group of street kids started throwing food at him.
“I literally didn’t say anything to them, I just said please don’t throw food at me,” he recalled. “That was it.”
But that wasn’t it.
One of the young men in the group followed him.
“I got three-fourths of the way across the crosswalk and I heard someone running up behind me. I turned around, tried getting my hands out of my pockets and he was on me,” Phillips said.
He said the man, later identified by Portland Police as 21-year-old Jeremy Cline, hit him in the head.
Phillips gave chase and said they got into another scuffle near Silverado where another man in the group kicked him in the head.
When bar security came out and police were called, all but Cline scattered.
“This could have easily gone a completely different route,” said Derek Winton, Phillip’s husband. “He was kicked in the back of the head. It only takes one kick for it to be a total game-changer.”
Now, Phillips is at home with a lump on his head, a bruised hip and a twisted ankle.
He lost his phone in the fight and is now losing income as he takes two days off work to recover.
Cline, who police say is homeless, was taken to jail charged with misdemeanor assault, but has already been released.
“For there not to be any justice or repercussions for this person, it’s enraging,” Winton added. “I don’t understand.”
Phillips and Winton said this is the fourth time they’ve been targeted in recent months; they’ve been verbally heckled in the area for being gay and said they’ve had run-ins with others on the street.
Now, they’re warning others who might walk alone in the area to be especially vigilant.
Police say their sexual orientation is not connected to this assault.
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