In what was initially being called a gay bashing, the mugging of Imperial Court Prince Von Jonnie this past Friday has been confirmed by the LBPD as a robbery and not a hate crime.

Following Mayor Foster’s annual address regarding Pride at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Von Jonnie was heading westbound on Ocean when he was approached by two suspects at 7th Place at 7:30PM. He was then physically assaulted, with his money and Imperial Court crown being taken from him.

A local blog reported Von Jonnie’s story (“Long Beach Imperial Court Prince is Gay Bashed After Leaving Mayor’s LGBT Reception“) following Facebook statuses posted by the victim himself.

Von Jonnie told the blog, “I called the police and they said the crown may be somewhere down Ocean. I was a target of a hate crime and the police told me I brought it upon myself by wearing the extravagant crown out in public.”

Von Jonnie spoke with the Post, clarifying, “I waved a police officer down on the street as he passed by right after the incident. That officer said he would arrest me for public intoxication and blamed me for walking alone and wearing the extravagant crown! He intimidated me into submission.”

VonJonnieHowever, according to Sgt. Aaron Eaton of the LBPD, that could not be confirmed and Von Jonnie actually never contacted the police formally. Community citizens got wind of the incident and–given the particularly homophobic nature Von Jonnie had described the event as–expressed concern. LBPD then contacted Von Jonnie to gather a formal account of the event and create a police report.

“There is nothing about this crime that indicates the suspects provided any inclination of their bias towards the victim for being a part of a protected class,” Eaton said. “There was no indication of a hate crime. Our job is to investigate criminal activity–whether you are in a protected class or not. If you are targeted because you fall within protected class, then that changes the criminal code but does not change the fact that a crime occured. We will always continue to investigate crime and encourage anyone who is the victim of any criminal wrongdoing to please report the crime immediately.”

Hate crimes are a tricky legal subject since proof that the crime was bias-motivated has to be presented for it to be deemed a hate crime. For example, if an attacker yells a racist slur before assaulting someone, this can be investigated as a hate crime due to the slur being yelled before the attack; bias has been indicated. In the same assault, were the attacker to not say anything or utter a slut after the attack, bias has not been legally indicated.

Eaton could not confirm the conversation officers had with Von Jonnie when the victim was finally contacted nor could he conform whether or not the victim was denied help from a passing-by officer; however, he did feel that words may have perhaps been miscontrued.

“There is a difference between telling someone to be cognizant of their surroundings and to not draw unneeded attention in the name of safety versus telling victims they brought it upon themselves,” Eaton said. “I can’t imagine an officer saying anything but the former.”

In the end and outside of conflicting stories, Von Jonnie–though staunchly standing by his story–emphasized that he is “not a fear monger.” He hopes he can simply get his crown back in time for Pride and be recognized for his larger work rather than “a by-chance mugging,” echoing some of the LBPD’s own sentiments.

“Just don’t be complacent and be aware of your surroundings,” Von Jonnie said. “I’m not afraid to walk around and this incident isn’t going to shake me or break my spirt, my drive, or determination to make Long Beach [through my charity work for the Imperial Court] a healthy community.”

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