Posted: Aug 7, 2012 4:41 PM by MTN News
Updated: Aug 8, 2012 6:45 AM
MISSOULA- Video has surfaced that questions a man's claims that he was attacked downtown over the weekend because he is gay.
Missoula police say they have new information in the case and that they're "considering" the video obtained by the Missoula Independent.
In it, the alleged victim may be the man videotaped attempting a back flip; instead of landing on his feet, he hits his face on the curb.
On Sunday, a man filed a police report in which he claimed that he was beaten on Main Street because he was gay.
The Independent hasn't given details on who shot the video.
The victim told Missoula police that he was at the Missoula Club celebrating his birthday; authorities said the victim reported telling people that he was gay and was looking for a place where gays hung out.
Investigators said that's when a man invited the victim to go outside and attacked him. Police say the man had scrapes and bruises, but no serious injuries.
Police say the man reported the attack three hours after it happened, and no one called 911 to report the incident.
(UPDATE, 5:10 pm) The Missoula Police Department has completed an investigation into the alleged assault that occurred in front of the Missoula Club on Sunday, July 5, at approximately 1:30 AM.
The report was filed by Joseph Baken, 22, who indicated that 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 now 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 AM 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.
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 communities 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."
Here is the video: