Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
A man has been charged with carrying out a homophobic attack in Birmingham using a glass bottle and is now due to appear in court over the incident.
The attack took place in October when John-Paul Kesseler was walking home from a night out in the city's Gay Village. He was holding another man's hand when a bottle was thrown at him, hitting him above the eye. He was then attacked with a pole before the attackers fled.
West Midlands Police are today (20 December) reporting 29-year-old Usman Murtza, from Tipton has been charged with two counts of assault, plus possessing an offensive weapon. Murtza is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 12 January.
"No-one should have to tolerate hate abuse or hate crimes"
Further, in their statement, the police added that "No-one should have to tolerate hate abuse or hate crimes," as well as providing contact information for where people can access help and support, as well as report incidents.
West Midlands Police have confirmed to Attitude that Murtza is the same man who handed himself in in October.
Following the attack in October, Kesseler said: "Everything seems to be turning on its head - people are more open with their hatred, people feel emboldened to act on their prejudices."
He also said that immediately after the attack he was told he was "asking for it" by other members of the public.
The attack, which followed other attacks in the city and across the UK, did lead to the city's leaders coming out and taking a stance against such horrendous assaults.
In a joint statement, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, Birmingham’s mayor Andy Street and council leader Ian Ward said they were proud of the city's diversity and stood by the local LGBTQ community.
The three men said the recent attacks were "disgusting" and that people being assaulted “because of who they are or who they love is simply not acceptable.”
Greater police patrols and CCTV around Birmingham’s LGBTQ village were said to be being provided as well as money being invested in supporting victims of hate crime.