Injured art history researcher calls "dog pile" bar brawl a hate crime

Categories: Crime

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hoto by Andrew Mason
University of Minnesota art history researcher Lauren DeLand found herself with a broken leg after getting caught in the middle of brawl outside the U Otter Stop Inn early Sunday morning on Central Avenue Southeast. Now, she wants the incident investigated as a hate crime.

DeLand and four friends were hassled by two men as they approached the bar, and later again when the bar closed and they left, DeLand told the Minnesota Daily. When her boyfriend, Joe Sullivan, told them to stop, they attacked him, and then turned on DeLand and the group of friends she was with. She said a "dog pile" fight ensued.

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People filtering out of the bar witnessed the fight, but no one interceded or called police, DeLand said. A bar employee who had been checking IDs (the bar officially has no bouncer, U Otter Spot Inn owner Denise Freeman said) eventually led the second assailant away from the fray, and DeLand and her friends started to leave, she said.

To the group's surprise, the assailant who was pulled out of the scrum moments earlier blindsided Sullivan and pushed him against a car. In the ensuing fight, DeLand was knocked to the ground, fracturing several bones and tearing cartilage in her knee. reported that DeLand is calling the attack a hate crime because the brawl started after one of the assailants called DeLand's group "faggots," and said he had a problem with queers.

"I believe that crimes of this nature are all of our problems," she said. "I am furious that I will be prevented from living my life to the fullest for over three months, and I don't want something like this to happen to my friends ever again."

DeLand said the group is asking the Minneapolis Police Department to investigate the case as a bias crime and DeLand said the group has contacted OutFront Minnesota, the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group for assistance.

Minneapolis police said the incident was being investigated as an assault.

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