Engineering student assaulted in hate crime

Engineering student at El Camino College, 21 year-old Jordan Paige was assaulted with a deadly weapon on Thursday, Nov. 12 around 5:30 p.m. near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Koreatown.

As he was on his way to pick up a package for work and waiting for the bus, he noticed a man waiting with a female and watching him, Paige said.

“He just kind of like sized me up, smiling very devilishly, looking me up and down. And I wasn't going to give him any energy. But he kept doing it. So I said, ‘hello, how are you?’ He didn’t say a single thing. And so I just kept looking for my bus,” Paige said.

Then, the man began yelling anti-gay slurs and started recording it “for the gram,” Paige said.

“When he started recording me, he [kept] narrating it as if like he was this ultimate hero trying to fight off this fag. That's when I began speaking out because, if I'm on camera, I'm not going to let you dehumanize me, I'm going to speak up, I'm going to respect [myself and] I'm going to support myself, I'm going to defend myself and more than that, I'm going to make you look stupid. And so I just kept saying ‘I'm not even doing anything, you're the one recording,’ he kept saying ‘shut up, shut up fag.’” Paige said.

The situation took a turn when the assaulter started banging a large piece of wood on the railing next to Paige, threatening to hit him, Paige said.

“I wasn't very intimidated, because, again, so many people in my life, try to threaten or try to scare me and I don't, I don't scare very easily, but I wasn't [going to] walk away either. Because again, I was focused on my job, I was focused on getting my package,” Paige said.

After a few minutes, the assaulter hit Paige in the face with the wooden block, blurring his vision, prolapsing Paige’s eye, fracturing his eye socket and lacerating his eyelid. Injured and on the ground, Paige called 911 and was eventually taken in an ambulance, where he called his partner, Travon Tucker and told them about what happened, Paige said.

“It was a lot of anxiety. [I] just didn't know what was going on at the time. Because, you know, since we're not married or anything, they can't really give me any information like that. [So] it was a lot,” Tucker said.

Demian Wyma, commanding officer of the Olympic Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that Paige’s case was reported and that at the time of the report, it was officially classified as a hate crime.

“[Hate crime designation] can change depending on what the investigators learn through the course of their investigation, but at the time the report was taken, based solely on what the victim told us. Yes, it was,” Wyma said.

The cases’ current status is open, as Wyma said and as of last week officers are still trying to get into contact with Paige. If the case is not solved by the LAPD, Paige and Tucker have considered hiring a private investigator or finding the assailant themselves.

“What I will be doing is looking for the man myself," Paige said. "I have no faith in the police department to do anything, especially because a report was not given to me of the incident.”

Moving forward, Paige is focusing on being optimistic and using his story to help others.

“It is just so validating. And it not only validates me as a person, or my space in the community, the queer community, the LGBT community, the black community, whatever you want to call it, and not only solidifies my place in our community, but really makes me realize it's okay to be vulnerable," Paige said.

"It's okay to be that person, and need help. Because, you know, there's actually a lot of good people in the world that want to help you and want to be that help for you,” Paige said.

Correction: Words were added in the fifth, 12th and 15th paragraphs for clarity on Dec. 17.