A gay man had to be rushed to hospital after being attacked in Birmingham’s Gay Village, in what he believes was a “hate crime”.
Matt Brooks, 52, was punched in the face shortly after 2am on Thursday (30 September).
The punch was so forceful that it fractured his eye socket and knocked him unconscious, and he had to be rushed into emergency surgery to save his sight.
He told BirminghamLive: “I’d finished work at midnight and went for a couple of pints at Missing Bar.
“Closing time was about 2am and I went over the road to get some chips. I sat against the window of [fast food restaurant] Urban Kitchen when a guy came out of nowhere and just hit me.
“It was completely unprovoked and went straight for me. I have no real memory of it.”
Brooks said the first thing he remembers after the attack is waking up on the ground, and being helped by two passers-by, who he said he “can’t thank enough”.
He added: “I could have stood out as an easy target. It could have been a hate crime. It’s more than likely.”
His friends reported the incident to police after he was taken to hospital. But Brooks has been frustrated by the police response to the attack.
Although it was quickly reported, he waited three days before officers came to interview him and take his statement.
In the meantime, his close friend Steve Dallaway utilised social media to draw attention to his ordeal, getting in touch with police officers and local Labour MP Shabana Mahmood.
Very sorry to hear about this Steve. Will be following up with West Midlands Police with urgency.
— Shabana Mahmood MP (@ShabanaMahmood) October 1, 2021
Police finally took Brooks’ statement on Sunday (3 October).
Dallaway told PinkNews that Brooks is now “convalescing here with me and my husband”, but said that they had been made to feel the police were “not interested”.
West Midlands Police told BirminghamLive: “We have now contacted the victim and our investigation is progressing.”
Matt Brooks is the latest victim in a string of attacks on LGBT+ people in Birmingham
In recent months, there has been a string of attacks on LGBT+ people in Birmingham.
In November, 2020, a trans woman was stabbed on her own doorstep in a horrific hate crime. Police said the incident “was a targeted hate crime against a member of the LGBT+ community”.