John Johnson needed 18 stitches in his head and his girlfriend was in fear for her life after an April 10 attack at a camp in Cincinnati where they lived. Johnson, 52, says he was sleeping under a highway overpass at about 3 A.M. when four men attacked him.
“I was awakened by four young men telling me to exit the property,” he says. “As I was complying with them, they started beating me with pipes and bats upside the head and up and down the left side of my body.”
Johnson’s attack is part of a bigger pattern of abuse that is becoming more apparent across the country. Homeless people all over North America are being set on fire, beaten, stabbed, shot, strangled, brutalized by police, harassed and raped. Many of these crimes go unreported, and the ones that do come to light might not necessarily be recorded as hate crimes.That means statistics for tracking the violence in order to find ways to address it are inadequate.