Gay man attacked in Santa Barbara

October 12, 2016

Gay_flag.svgIn what is being deemed a hate crime, a Santa Barbara man punched an openly gay man in the face on State Street last week. The victim suffered a black eye and a concussion. [KCOY]

On Oct. 4, Richard Schiwietz, and a close friend dined in the downtown area of Santa Barbara. Following dinner, the pair strolled arm-in-arm down State Street.

Around 7 p.m., a man approached them, called them names, flipped them off and made a rude comment about Schiwietz’s mother, Schiweitz said. The suspect then punched Schiwietz in the left temple before attempting to flee the scene.

Schiwietz called 911 and chased after the suspect.

The suspect ran into a parking lot, pulled down his pants and began yelling that he had been raped.

Shortly afterwards, officers arrested John Harlan Savala, 54, on State Street. Schiweitz told police he wanted to press hate crime charges against Savala.

Schiweitz discussed the incident in an interview with KCOY that aired on Tuesday, which was National Coming Out Day. Schiweitz said there currently seems to be a climate of hate.

“It feels like the anger is almost palpable at times, and I feel like I’m getting residuals built up in people,” Schiwitz said.

On Oct. 18, the Pacific Pride Foundation will host a gathering at the location where last week’s attack allegedly happened. Organizers plan for attendees to meet at De La Guerra Plaza at 6 p.m., then walk to the corner of State Street.


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9 Comments

  1. San Louie says:

    This “hate crime” crap is pure bull manure! I’m pleased to see that Savala was arrested. His punishment should be the same if he attacked a heterosexual or a homosexual.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a lessening of the charges. Savala should be treated equally harshly no matter who he attacked.

    This “hate crimes” crap is divisive. It drives wedges between different communities because some receive preferential treatment due to current politics. That’s terribly wrong.

    Treat all criminals equally harshly no matter who they attack or who they are!

    (18) 38 Total Votes - 28 up - 10 down
    • Resident says:

      Totally agree.. I thought everyone was supposed to be equal? There shouldn’t be protected classes, that flies in the face of everything this country is supposed to stand for.

      Some classes are more protected than others? Who decides which classes of crimes are “hate crimes” and which groups are “lucky” enough to be called that and get special treatment?

      It’s almost as ridiculous as citizen’s united.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
    • paragon says:

      A hate crime is pretty well defined as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Based on the attacker’s statements and actions, it doesn’t seem out of line to think this may have been a hate crime. If it actually meets that criteria will be up to a jury to decide.

      I’m interested in hear your rationale as to how charging this person with a hate crime is giving someone preferential treatment?

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
      • San Louie says:

        It’s the very existence of “hate crimes” that I’m against. Prosecute ALL criminals the same as you would those who perpetuate “hate crimes.”

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. jonhartz says:

    How great to hear that Schiwietz chased this creep down and got him arrested! I love it when the victim turns the tables! Now he needs to get a concealed carry permit so he doesn’t have to run so fast!

    (0) 32 Total Votes - 16 up - 16 down
    • San Louie says:

      Shooting someone or even drawing a firearm in this instance where the attacker immediately fled would be horrifically wrong. Once the threat ended (in this case with Savala attempting to flee), the license to employ a firearm in any manner in this context also ended.

      (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
  3. Slosum says:

    Hate crime? Or the pants-pulling Savala’s mentally ill.

    (8) 20 Total Votes - 14 up - 6 down

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