Montana

Aug 8, 2012 9:21 AM by MTN News

Video shows man who alleged gay hate crime injuring himself

MISSOULA - The Missoula Police Department has completed an investigation into the alleged assault that was reported in front of the Missoula Club on Sunday, July 5, at approximately 1:30 a.m.

The report was filed by Joseph Baken, 22, who said the attack was due to his sexual orientation.

After receiving a tip from a Missoula journalist, police received video evidence that cast doubt on the incident.

Missoula police have now determined that the assault did not occur.

The video, shot by an unknown source, was examined and demonstrates that Baken caused injury to himself by attempting a backward somersault and striking his head on the sidewalk at about 2:30 a.m. on Higgins Avenue.

When interviewed by Missoula police, Baken admitted that the alleged assault against him did not, in fact, occur.

Baken was cited for making a false report to law enforcement, and pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday in Missoula Municipal Court.

He received a suspended 180-day jail sentence and paid a $300 fine.

Photo: Poster circulated online after initial report

Missoula police issued a press release to explain that the decision to file criminal charges was due in part to the sense of fear and anger that quickly developed after Baken had identified a specific business and possible suspects in his allegations.

Police Chief Mark Muir said in the press release: "The Police Department is grateful for the community's concerns and willingness to come forward with valuable information in this case. The incident was resolved quickly due to the information received and will hopefully allow the GLBTI community some needed relief from the fear that was virally spreading across the country."

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