The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia announced April 7 that a Virginia man has been sentenced to 120 days in jail for ''an unprovoked assault on a group of gay women.''
Christopher McDonald, 27, who was born in Jamaica and now lives in Virginia, was sentenced on Monday, April 5, by D.C. Superior Court Judge Craig Iscoe. He was charged with two criminal counts: bias-related threats to do bodily harm and simple assault.
According to D.C.'s USAO, McDonald pleaded guilty to both charges on Feb. 3.
The incident happened Sept. 7, 2009, when McDonald confronted a group of women on a sidewalk in Adams Morgan about their sexual orientation. According to the USAO, McDonald brandished a knife and said, ''If we were in Jamaica I'd shoot you in the face for being gay.'' He was arrested at the scene while attempting to flee.
"Because McDonald committed a bias-motivated threat, his maximum penalty on the Threats charge is enhanced by District of Columbia law by [one and a half] times," reads a statement from the USAO.
McDonald's jail time will be followed by two years of ''supervised probation,'' including 50 hours of community service, substance-abuse treatment and completion of anger management and ''sensitivity to issues of sexual orientation'' courses.
Kelly Pickard, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), says the organization commends the responding officer, USAO and Iscoe, ''for sending a clear message that threats, intimidation and violence against members of the LGBT community are deplorable and unacceptable."
''This serves as a positive example of what can happen when a case is handled well from the start and through the finish,'' Pickard added. ''As a community we need to make a strong statement that hate crimes will not be tolerated in this city any longer.''