A Houston gay man says that he was assaulted by bouncers at an LGBTQ+ event, leaving him unconscious and with multiple injuries. Video of the attack has been circulating on social media.
Earlier this month, Norman Reggi Houston-Pickett Jr. and a group of friends attended an event at drag-themed chain restaurant Hamburger Mary’s in downtown Houston. The wedding planner and party promoter says that as they were leaving the restaurant, his party was told by security to wait. Houston-Pickett says that he grabbed a bottle from a nearby bar and joked that he needed a drink for the wait but replaced the bottle immediately without taking a drink.
“Probably not even a few minutes later, I saw an African American male… really buff with long hair coming at me with two other guys,” he told local Fox affiliate KRIV. “The only thing I remember, the words he said were, ‘You said something to my sister?’ He hit me and that’s all I remember.”
Video of the altercation shows one bouncer restraining Houston-Pickett in a chokehold as another punches him 11 times in the face. KRIV reports that Houston-Pickett was left with an injured throat, a black eye, and a broken leg.
Houston says he was not aggressive toward the venue’s security in any way. “Anyone there can tell you that’s just not what happened at all,” he said. “They came charging with an agenda.”
Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Houston point to a trend of straight security guards mistreating queer patrons.
“This is what happens when you take a franchise restaurant and turn it to a nite club [sic] and after hours and then hire homophobic security officers,” Houston-Pickett wrote in a March 6 Facebook post. “You get jumped for no reason by the people supposedly hired to protect you.”
Houston-Pickett’s attorney, Carl A. Moore, said he had reached out to Hamburger Mary’s repeatedly, but as of last week the restaurant had not responded. He said he plans to bring civil charges against those responsible, and he is working with Houston Police and the district attorney’s office to make sure that criminal charges are brought as well.