Indiana Man Says He Was Gay Bashed At Taco Bell

HOBART, INDIANA – A Hobart, Ind., man’s attorney filed a civil complaint in Lake Superior Court on Wednesday seeking $1 million in damages from Taco Bell and a pair of former employees. The cause for complaint: Discrimination against his sexual orientation that resulted in battery.
Documents filed by Merrillville attorney Todd M. Conover on behalf of Charles E. Dayton claim Dayton was discriminated against by Taco Bell employee Amber Barnes.
Dayton says he was refused service when he approached the drive-through window of the restaurant at 8476 E. Ridge Road in December 2005, and Barnes used a sexual-orientation slur. Dayton also claims Barnes said, “I hope you get AIDS and die,” and challenged him to a fight.
Dayton contacted the Taco Bell customer service line the day after the incident. He claims he was advised his complaint would be forwarded to the district manager and he would be contacted within two to three days, but he was never contacted.
Then Sept. 22, when Dayton ordered dinner at the drive-through, he noticed employee Barnes pointing in his direction. While his window was down, Dayton claims another employee, Joseph Shinkle, punched him in the face and called him a slur.
Dayton contacted Hobart police, and according to a police report, Shinkle admitted he struck Dayton, claiming he was provoked. Police filed a misdemeanor charge of battery with Hobart City Court. A warrant was issued for Shinkle’s arrest Nov. 21 after he failed to appear in court on two occasions.
Conover says his client deserves an apology from the company. Conover said a hate crime charge may still be filed with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Such a charge would not be processed by a city court.
Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch declined comment.
“I find it appalling that in this day and age something like this could happen,” Conover said.
from CBS2 Chicago

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