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Local musician Rhythm Turner victim of a hate crime

May 26, 2009 - 7:48 pm


Local singer-songwriter Rhythm Turner was assaulted on Thursday, May 14, outside of ’Canes Bar & Grill in what she called a hate crime. Turner, a lesbian, was playing a show with her band, Dropjoy, at the Mission Beach club, and, according to her and witnesses at the scene, she was attacked by a man after hugging her girlfriend.

“It was early, around 10 o’clock,” Turner tells CityBeat, “We were all hanging out and chatting, and I went to walk my girlfriend to her car and I was giving her a hug goodbye. Then this guy came up right in our face and asked if we were lesbians. I was really put off by it, and I said, ‘Hey, man, you need to get away.’” Turner says the man, accompanied by another male, kept insisting that they wanted to see Turner and her girlfriend kiss.

“I started getting really stern with him, and I started cussing at him like, ‘Hey, man, get the fuck away,’” she says. “And then he said, ‘Don’t talk to me like that or I’m going to slap you.’ I said, ‘No, you’re not going to slap me.’ And then he proceeded to slap me with an open palm.”

Turner says the man turned around at first as if to run away but then seemed to change his mind and turned around again and punched her in the eye. She says she tried to defend herself when the man punched her once more in the nose. At that point, Turner’s girlfriend managed to get the attention of Turner’s brother, who tackled the guy and pinned him.

“At one point, I was face-to-face with him after my brother apprehended him,” Turner says. “I was standing there, looking at him, and I told him, ‘Look what you did to my face,’ and it seemed like he didn’t even know what he had done until that moment and he looked at me and had a look on his face like, Oh, shit.”

The suspect escaped, but security at ’Canes helped grab him, and he was handcuffed until police arrived, which, Turner says, was two hours after the assault. She says that while the man was handcuffed and sitting in front of the club, he was saying things like, “God’s the only one that judges.”

“I don’t know if it was supposed to be a justification for what he did or if he was talking about himself,” Turner says. “I just thought it was interesting to invoke the name of God after he just did something that horrible. I’m sure God wouldn’t approve of what you just did.”

Turner has posted a video on YouTube, under the title “Rhythm Turner: Hate Crime Survivor,” in which she recounts the experience. Turner says the police have told her that the man is in custody on felony battery charges. Neither Detective Garrick Nugent, nor police spokesperson Monica Muñoz, returned CityBeat’s calls as of press time.

Turner suffered two facial fractures, one on her nose and underneath her eye, the latter she believes will require corrective surgery. A full-time student at Grossmont College, she doesn’t have health insurance. An account has been set up to take donations:

“It’s a whole new set of hoops that I’m jumping through to get this surgery scheduled,” she says. “It’s been really difficult.”

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