News » Crime

Watch: Canadian Man Says Police Not Protecting Him from Violent Neighbor after Alleged Hate Crime

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday November 14, 2020

Stephen Wentzell
Stephen Wentzell  (Source:Screen cap/Global News)

A gay Halifax man says that local police are doing too little to ensure his safety after a next-door neighbor subjected him to a vicious, slur-filled assault, Global News reports.

Stephen Wentzell, 23, says that a neighbor appeared at his door and launched into an alcohol-fueled, violent assault that left him with a concussion. The man was subsequently arrested, but was then released by authorities and is back home.

Wentzell stayed in his apartment for days, fearful to venture out with the alleged assailant free once more, Global News reported.

Wentzell contacted the police last Aug. 31 to advise them of what he suspected to be domestic abuse taking place next door. The police checked out the call, but, Wentzell said, they did nothing more than stop by, after which they "left without incident."

But a couple of weeks later, on Sept. 17, the man stormed into Wentzell's home and delivered a brutal beating, the young man alleges.

"He just drunkenly stumbled up those steps, and next thing you know it was just closed fists left and right to my temples," the young man said of the purported attack.

Even as the assault was taking place, Wentzell was using his phone to record it. In the audio clip, the man can be heard berating Wentzell, calling him a "fucking faggot" and striking him while Wentzell screams for help and cries, "Get away from me!"

"You mind your business!" the man can be heard. "I'm not the guy who beats up women!" The man goes on to call Wentzell a "rat," and threatens: "You do that to me again, if the cops show up at my house, I will murder you! You understand?"

Wenbtzell posted the audio clip to Twitter, along with a warning that it contained "graphic audio," and text that recounted, "Last night I was viscously attacked by my neighbour after reporting him to @HfxRegPolice for abusing his wife.

"I took more than a dozen punches to the head while being called a faggot + kicked in the face until his boot fell off," Wentzell added.

The unidentified neighbor, reportedly 57 years old, "is facing charges of assault, uttering threats and intimidation," Global News reports, adding: "He was not charged in relation to the domestic abuse allegation."

Halifax police released a statement on the incident and the suspect's subsequent release, saying, "it is important to remember that the police do not have the ability or authority to evict residents from their homes in these circumstances."

The statement went on to say that the police "have continued to maintain contact to ensure the victim is fully aware of what would constitute breaching those conditions, and what steps are involved to report such information."

Wentzell has taken little comfort from the police, saying, "It's just really uncomfortable to know that there's somebody who can hang out in the backyard with their dog, but I can't have company over without worrying that they'll be killed."

Wentzell told the Global News that he wanted the alleged assault investigated as a hate crime. "I don't have much faith that they'll follow through with it. But I'm going to keep advocating for it anyway," he said.

Watch the Global News clip at this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

Comments on Facebook