Reporting Nick Janes
ELK GROVE (CBS13) – An Elk Grove teenager says he and his friends were beaten up in a public park because he’s bisexual. So why aren’t police calling this a hate crime?
“We were easy bait to be picked on,” victim Max Aistrup said.
As an openly bisexual 16-year-old, Aistrup knows what it’s like being bullied. Only this time, it wasn’t just words, but punches.
“They called us (expletive). Anything you can think of they pretty much said,” said Aistrup.
Aistrup says he and his friends were attacked in broad daylight walking through a quiet, well-kept Elk Grove Park. He says seven guys came up making derogatory comments. Aistrup speculates it could be because they saw his rainbow t-shirt.
“We all wear stuff like this. We’re all kind of geeks. ‘Oh, they’re probably weak we should just make fun of them,’ ” Aistrup said.
Two of Aistrup’s friends were jumped while he and a third friend ran off to dial 911. By the time police arrived, the suspects were already gone with Aistrup’s Xbox — taken from his friend’s backpack.
“When I found out about the slurs, I had smoke coming out of my ears like the cartoons,” said Earl McComb, Aistrup’s father.
McComb is furious, convinced his 16-year-old was targeted simply for who he is.
“I have no room in my life for hate or intolerance,” he said.
Police are treating this as a robbery, not a hate crime — saying it remains unclear what the motivation was.
“If it’s a group of punk kids out there harassing good kids that are walking through or were they specifically targeted because of a rainbow shirt,” Elk Grove police Officer Chris Trim said of the motivation.
However, Aistrup says the suspects’ homophobic slurs leave little doubt.
“That’s the moment you cross the line,” he said.