Wellington couple beaten in homophobic attack say police officer refused to walk them home

Joe Perrone says a police officer refused to walk him and his partner home after they were beaten in a homophobic attack.
Joe Perrone says a police officer refused to walk him and his partner home after they were beaten in a homophobic attack. Photo credit: Getty Images + Instagram/Joe Perrone

A Wellington man says a police officer refused to walk him and his partner home after they were beaten in a homophobic attack early on Sunday morning.

Joe Perrone, 25, and his partner were attending Pride celebrations in central Wellington and were waiting to pay for food at J & M's Fast Foods on Courtenay Place when they were attacked by a "large group" at about 4am.

In screenshots of messages Perrone sent to a friend that were later posted to social media, he says the police "didn't do anything" to stop the abuse.

"I got a big beating to the face and people were holding [his partner] in a chokehold. We literally didn't do or say anything.

"I was crying and begging the police officer to walk us home but she refused."

He says the group then started calling them "f****ts".

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Perrone says Wellington is still homophobic and alleges the police don't defend homophobia.

"I'm f***ing done with it. I don't feel safe being alone at night. I don't feel safe holding my own boyfriend's hand. The New Zealand police are NOT for the people. I do NOT feel safe."

Wellington couple beaten in homophobic attack say police officer refused to walk them home
Photo credit: Instagram/Joe Perrone

Wellington Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennett said in a statement he will be making enquiries with staff to establish what happened.

He was unable to follow up with them on Sunday because the officers were working a night shift.

Bennett said police are committed to supporting and working with the LGBTQ+ community, staff and families.

"Police are absolutely committed to promoting inclusion, diversity, and dialogue, and any report of people being targeted because of their sexual orientation is deeply concerning."

He says people should contact 105 to report an incident if they've been a victim of a crime.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz