The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

April 23, 2013

Openly gay former public official attacked outside OKC bar

OKLAHOMA CITY — A former Oklahoma Corporation Commission member and county commissioner who was the first openly gay elected official in Oklahoma County was attacked outside an Oklahoma City bar earlier this month by a man who shouted anti-gay slurs at him, according to a police report.

The incident came to light after the owner of the bar where the attack happened took out an advertisement in a local newspaper that went viral over social media because of its plea for tolerance and condemnation of discrimination.

Jim Roth, 44, served as District 1 Oklahoma County commissioner from 2003-07, when he was appointed to the Corporation Commission by former Gov. Brad Henry. He filled the unexpired term of Denise Bode, who had resigned the seat. He lost a bid to keep his job on the Corporation Commission when he was defeated in an election by Dana Murphy in 2008.

Greg Seal, the co-owner of Grandad’s Bar, 217 NW 23, placed the ad earlier this week. The ad, a letter headlined “Hate is not on tap at Grandad’s,” referenced a recent incident that went against the bar’s concept of being open and tolerant to all.

The ad quickly spread as Facebook and Twitter users posted images of it with support for its inclusive message.

Police report

A check of police records turned up an assault and battery report from April 6 that listed Roth as the victim.

According to the report, Roth and some friends were at the bar for a birthday dinner when a man started making anti-gay comments.

Roth and one of his friends at first ignored the comments but eventually decided to leave, he said.

They were followed out of the bar by the man who made the comments and two of his friends, who attacked them when they got outside, according to the report.

Roth told police the men yelled anti-gay comments as they punched him in the head and pushed him down.

Roth’s jeans were ripped, and he had a scrape on his right knee.

He also had red marks on his face.

Roth said he fought off his attackers, and they fled.

Police said they still are investigating the case.

The name of at least one of the accused men was given to police by the bar’s staff, according to the police report.

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