The Commonwealth v. Fabio Brandao

It is Tuesday evening and I am sitting at BWI waiting for my slightly delayed flight to Boston. I am heading up to Boston because the trail against Fabio Brandao starts tomorrow. For those of you who don't remember the story I was attacked in Boston right before I moved down to DC because I was walking friends home after a night out. Here is the story from Edge Boston...

Gay bashing on Columbus Avenue by Ethan Jacobs Bay Windows Thursday Aug 28, 2008

Police are currently investigating a possible hate crime after three people were viciously attacked by four men shouting homophobic slurs on Columbus Avenue in the early morning hours of August 24. The victims, four friends in their mid-20s, told Bay Windows that they were walking home at around 2:45 a.m., along Columbus Avenue, somewhere between Dartmouth and West Canton streets, after a night clubbing at the Roxy in downtown. One of the victims, a Jamaica Plain woman named Jenna, said that she and her friends heard a group of men shouting at them from a parked white sedan. They kept walking, but before they could go far, the four men got out of their car and started coming towards them."I saw the men getting out of the car, and I approached them first and said, ’Just get back in your car... We’re just heading home,’" said Jenna, who asked that Bay Windows withhold her last name due to safety concerns. "They were like, ’Fuck you, your fucking friends are faggots,’ and one of them punched me in the face."When her two friends, S of the South End and J of Jamaica Plain, who also asked to withhold his last name, came to her aid, the attackers turned on them. Two of them began beating S and another kicked J in the face repeatedly as he lay on the ground, shouting "Fuck you, faggots" throughout the attack. JCH was furthest away from the incident and was not directly involved in the physical confrontation.The attackers ran back to their car to get away, Jenna said, when she pulled her phone out and threatened to call the police. She ran after them and dialed 911 on her cell phone; when an operator answered, she shouted the license plate number of the car into the phone."I was screaming it repeatedly into the phone over and over again," said Jenna. "That’s when the guys in the car yelled, ’Bitch, you better move or I’m going to hit you.’" She jumped out of the way, and the car sped off. After the attackers fled, Jenna and JCH found J lying unconscious on the sidewalk, but Cain was nowhere in sight. They were able to reach him moments later on his cell phone; he was in his Massachusetts Avenue apartment, but had no idea how he got there. "I woke up in my apartment, completely covered in blood, like from the movies," said S who said that he could not remember the assault itself or the immediate aftermath. Police and EMTs arrived on the scene and immediately brought J to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, picking up S on the way. Jenna and JCH stayed behind to report the incident; police also recovered a cell phone at the scene that may have belonged to the attackers. J and S, who both sustained concussions, were released later that day; S also sustained deep cuts above his eye and his temple requiring stitches. Neither man remembers any details of the assault. The three victims and JCH said they told police that the attackers were four Hispanic males, but they were not able to provide police with any further identifying information. S told Bay Windows the attackers looked like "four frat boys."Elaine Driscoll, spokeswoman for the Boston Police, said the Community Disorders Unit, which focuses on hate crimes, is leading the investigation, working with detectives from the Area D4 station. She said police are following up on the information the victims gave them and the 911 operator about the assailants’ car, which they believe was a white Honda station wagon."The detectives do have some information to go by and they are in the process of tracking the information down. I don’t have the conclusive information yet, but investigators are working to determine who the owner of the vehicle is and whether or not the vehicle was involved," said Driscoll, adding that detectives are also trying to verify the identity of the owner of the cell phone and discover whether the owner was involved. S said police interviewed him about what he remembers, took pictures of his wounds and took the bloodied clothes he wore that night to use as evidence. Police and his friends have filled him in about much of what happened that night, but no one knows how S got from the scene of the attack to his apartment."The part that scares me the most is what I don’t remember. ... They said they saw me go down, I was unconscious, and when they drove away I was gone," said S, who said his face is covered in bruises and he has had trouble closing his jaw since the attack. J said the concussion he sustained was relatively minor, and he still has some minor cuts and bruises."Ten years in Boston I’ve never felt uncomfortable, and now it’s weird for me to think about walking down Columbus, which I did all the time," he said. "But I also feel very lucky. I got a couple bruises and scrapes, but it could have been a lot worse."Jenna said she has a bruise over one eye, but most of the trauma she endured has been psychological."Emotionally, I’m completely on edge and I haven’t been sleeping, and the smallest thing makes me go off into bouts of anxiety. Even retelling this story has me shaking," said Jenna.

That was all the way back in August and now at the end of May we are all heading to Boston, including the Doctor who is coming to sit by my side. We are all going to re-live that night as we testify against this man, Fabio Brandao, the man who changed our worlds. The man who shattered my confidence in the overall good of people. This man and his friends (who have yet to be caught or charged) thought it was okay to attack friends walking home, just because they perceived us as gay.

I'm trying not to be scared anymore, it has been months of working at it and I am doing pretty well but tomorrow is frightening. Tomorrow is the first time I am going to see this man who attacked me and my friends. Tomorrow is the first day that I have to relive who happened, and I am scared that somehow tomorrow I will start to remember the night.

And I am conflicted, what if a plea bargain is offered, what if he gets off with no jail time? Does that matter? I have been strong, I have been lucky, but what about that next person. What if one of the kicks to the head is a bit harder, what if that next person blames himself. I know it wasn't my fault. I know I can't change who I am. I know that I will be able to put this behind me and live my life. I know I'll get married (no matter what California says) and I will always have the Doctor by my side, but I am the lucky one.

This case is bigger than me, this case means the world to a lot of people. I hope that the right thing happens and if it doesn't then I hope that we can force change. Hate is never the answer, I have said it over and over again and I won't stop saying it until events like this are things of the past.


Bibliolatrist said...

good luck! I'll be thinking of you :)

Joel David said...

I was assaulted in high school for being gay. You have to fight to not let things like this redefine how you view the world. I look forward to your follow-up blog.

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