“Oh great ... f*@$ing faggots,” Joseph Menard Jr. allegedly said in disgust as a group of four openly gay Lafayette men took their seats inside the Grand Theater for a Sunday matinee of the new Barbra Streisand film.
Despite having his wife and child seated next to him, Menard refused to stop, says Walt Jamison, one of the four men targeted during the altercation.
Jamison tells The IND that within minutes the situation evolved from being just a verbal altercation incited by an extreme homophobe to a physical assault against two men because of their sexuality.
After throwing an open-handed sucker-punch to the back of Jamison's partner's head, Menard then took a swing at Jamison, but only grazed his face, causing his glasses to fly off and land on the bottom level of the stadium-seated theater.
Though almost identical to Jamison’s retelling of the incident, here’s how the arrest affidavit filed by Lafayette Police details the situation:
[Menard] was involved in a verbal altercation in the Grand Theater with subjects regarding their sexual preference. Confrontation became physical at which time [Menard] slapped one of the subjects in the back of the head and pushed the other male in the face with an open hand, causing his glasses to fall off of his face.
Menard, with his wife and child in tow, attempted to flee the scene, and even made it to their family vehicle, but were stopped short while still in the movie theater parking lot.
According to Jamison’s side of the story, as well as the arrest affidavit filed by Lafayette Police officer Shannon Brasseaux, it seems Menard’s actions inside the theater would constitute what state law deems a hate crime.
But that was not the case, and though Menard was booked, it was only for two counts of simple battery.
|Joseph Menard Jr.|
The reason, Lafayette Police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton tells The IND, is because Menard’s actions did not fully meet all the criteria required by state law to be deemed a hate crime.
“The arrest affidavit does insinuate that it meets all the requirements,” says Mouton. “But the media doesn’t have the full report. I’ve read the entire report, and no, it doesn’t meet all the requirements. We can’t release that report because this is still an ongoing investigation.”
Mouton says that based on the full report of Sunday’s assault, the one not available for public viewing, officer Brasseaux did his due diligence in not charging Menard with a hate crime.
“An officer can only charge based on the facts, and without eye witnessing the incident, he has to deal with a victim that may say one thing and a suspect saying something else,” says Mouton. “And based on the statements the officer received, he felt all the elements didn’t match up to charge (Menard) with a hate crime. Now, this may get to the prosecutors and they may increase the charges.”
Click here to read how Louisiana law defines what is and isn't a crime of hate.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Smaller Microsoft Store installations sell a wide array of Microsoft products (Windows phones, Surface tablets and Xbox consoles) but don’t include everything.
See cutting-edge technologies Thursday in brief presentations/demonstrations from 3rd Dimension Media, C&C Technologies, Cimation and UL Lafayette School of Engineering.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
His company bankrupt and being liquidated, the Lafayette businessman’s financial troubles are mounting.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).