SARASOTA, Fla. - A Sarasota man says he was physically attacked just for being gay. It's just the latest in an explosion of hate based violence since the presidential election. And this victim says he's never been through anything like this attack.
Chuck Redding says he was followed home by someone after dropping off a friend and he believes that person targeted him all because of the stickers on the back of his car.
"This guy was extremely close to me. At first, I didn't think anything of it other than it was a jerk that was following too close," said Redding.
But as he turned onto his street, the SUV was creeping even closer.
"And I knew then something was wrong," Redding said.
He decided to park in front of a neighbor's house. Then, he says the other driver jumped out of his dark colored Jeep and came banging on his car window.
"He yanked the door open, dragged me out, ripped my shirt. I was on the pavement," said Redding.
His arm is now badly bruised, his hand cut and swollen to twice its normal size, his knee scraped, and part of his toe ripped. Redding says the driver had clearly taken note of his marriage equality and rainbow bumper stickers.
"He kept saying, 'You know my new president says we can kill all you faggots now,'" Redding said.
Redding is openly gay, but says he's never been attacked like this. He's now part of the spike in attacks against minorities nationwide..
"It's absolutely horrendous," he said.
Redding's now taking action to protect himself. He and several friends are applying for conceal carry permits and encouraging others to do the same.
"If I can carry a weapon in my waistband, so that it can be seen at least, maybe these people will think different," said Redding.
Chuck Redding filed a report with the Sarasota Co. Sheriff's Office, which is now investigating the incident. If you know anything about it, or have experienced something similar, you're encouraged to contact law enforcement.
Redding says the suspect was a Hispanic man with a beard, driving a dark colored Jeep Cherokee. He tried to run after the SUV, but it sped off backwards down the street so he couldn't catch a license plate number.