A 20-year-old Salt Lake City resident was attacked and hospitalized on Aug. 27 as he left a downtown club. Dane Hall, an openly gay man, was in the hospital for four days, severely chipped six teeth and his jawbone was broken in three places as a result of the attack.
Hall said he left Club Sound, which is gay-themed on Friday nights, and crossed the street to the corner of 600 West and 200 South in Salt Lake City, when four men approached him and began yelling gay slurs. He was then punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground, he said. One of the assailants grabbed his shirt and began punching him in the face, he said. Hall said after he fell to the ground again, the attacker grabbed him, placed his mouth over the street curb and stomped on the back of head, chipping down six teeth in a move commonly referred to as ‘curb checking,’ which can result in death in many cases. Two other assailants kicked him repeatedly in the stomach, Hall said. The attackers called him a ‘faggot’ and took his identification and $40, he said.
“I could have died. And a piece of bone from my jaw was jammed into my brain, to make things worse,” Hall said in email correspondence because his jaw is still wired shut after the attack. “If anyone has any information leading to the arrest I am offering a $10,000 reward.”
Hall was knocked unconscious and remembers waking while two of his friends helped him walk to a police car that was nearby. The same friends drove him to LDS Hospital where he was soon transferred to the IHC in Murray.
“There are things that are still really blurry from right after the attack,” Hall said. “I can’t remember exactly how I got to the cops. I just remember seeing flashing lights and moving. It’s just so blurry.”
“More and more memories are coming back to me, but from the time right after I was attacked, there’s things I just can’t remember,” Hall said.
The hospital bills will total more than $40,000 and unless the assailants are found, Hall could be stuck with the bill, he said. Although he filed a police report, there have been no leads on the case and no suspects have been named, he said.
Salt Lake City Police said the case is active and being looked into.
The attack comes just months after another similar attack in April outside of the club of another gay man. Jordan Corona, 21, left Club Sound on a Friday evening in April and was attacked from behind by several assailants, he said. He was treated for a concussion as a result of the attack, he said.
“The doctors say I was lucky no bones are broken. But my collar bone is really bruised, probably from being kicked on the ground, and my wrist is sprained and my face is just really messed up,” Corona said.
No arrests were made and no one was charged as a result of the attack. Corona’s cell phone was stolen and phone calls were made, but the information did not help police, Corona said.
The process of reporting the crime and finding help from the police has been frustrating and difficult, Corona said.
“It’s been such a long process to even get a hold of the right person that can help me,” Corona said. “It’s been so frustrating.”
Club Sound has security cameras surrounding the building; however, no footage of the attack on Hall was captured.
The assailants were described by Hall as light-skinned and wearing red. Anyone with information about the assailants or any possible leads is being asked to call the Salt Lake Police Department at 801-799-3000.
A fund has been established at Zions Bank to help with Hall’s medical costs. Simply ask to donate to the ‘Dane Hall Fund’ at any bank branch or through an online check through your bank’s bill pay services, pay to Zions Bank in the name of “Dane Hall Fund.” A check can also be sent to the Dane Hall Fund, Zions Bank, 701 E. 400 S., Salt Lake City, UT, 84102.Another account, called the ‘Dane Hall Donation Account’ was established through Wells Fargo and donations can be made at any branch in the country.
The attack is an opportunity for the community to rally around Hall, The Utah Pride Center said in a statement.
“With Dane in our hearts and minds, this community can come together like never before. We can share our concerns and fears with those in power who can make the Utah community safer for us all.
Specifically, our local and county governments must hear our concerns. In addition, we must look out for each other and reduce the opportunities to be in harm’s way,” the statement said. “We all know that an act of violence against one of us is an act of violence against us all.”
Fundraisers at local clubs, in including the Metro Bar, Club JAM and Club Sound and the bank accounts have lead to more than $16,000 in donations and more are coming in. A fund to provide reward money for information leading to arrests in hate-motivated crimes directed at Utah’s queer community was established by the Q Business Alliance. The Alliance is a group of Utah businesses owned and operated by the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community and their allies.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everyone’s help,” Hall said. “I’m normally sort of shy and all this attention has been kind of overwhelming. I really want to move on with everything and hopefully I’ll be able to do that.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department has reached out to members of the community and Chief Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank visited Pure at Club Sound the Friday after the attack.
“Someone out there saw something that happened last week,” Burbank said. “We need you to come forward and help us catch them.”
Burbank also reached out to local community leaders, including representatives from Equality Utah, the Utah Pride Center and a local queer-rights activist, Charles Lynn Frost, who performs as Sister Dottie Dixon.
“He handled himself admirably and answered all our questions, even some very difficult inquires,” Frost said. “We absolutely feel like Chief Burbank and the police department is willing to work with us and is very open to listening.”
Hall said the police have been helpful and he is hopeful that they will eventually find the attackers, but in the mean time, he plans on continuing his life and hopes to stay out of the spot light in the future.
“If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I could never be famous,” Hall said as he laughed. “I don’t know how to handle the attention I’ve been getting and I’m excited to put all this behind me.”