A Florida Keys judge refused to give jail time to a North Carolina man who admitted to assaulting a couple with gay slurs, threats and knocking one off his bicycle by ramming his scooter into him.
Brandon Ray Davis, 30, admitted calling Kevin Paul Taylor and Kevin Seymour “faggots,” and yelling, “You’re in Trump country now!” on Feb. 23 on Duval Street in Key West and smashing his scooter into Seymour’s back bike tire.
“I landed on my feet, that was the luck of it,” Seymour said Wednesday, after the hearing in which Davis received four years probation, 75 hours of community service and was banned from tasting alcohol for two years.
Judge Wayne Miller said the injuries suffered — a flattened bicycle tire and a chain knocked off — weren’t enough to warrant a day in jail after Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne asked for 60 days behind bars.
Originally arrested for felony aggravated battery, Davis was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge Wednesday at the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West.
Taylor and Seymour watched Wednesday as Davis called his fiancée and two family friends to the front of the court to testify that whatever he did at about 1 a.m. Feb. 23 in Key West was completely out of character. Davis also has an openly gay friend, a professional his attorney noted, who wrote one of 30 letters of support.
Then Davis turned toward the two men he threatened in a drunken stupor four months ago, walked toward them from the court’s center and offered to embrace them.
“My heart goes out to you guys, every bit of it,” Davis said to Taylor and Seymour, who were seated in the front row behind the prosecutor’s table. “I’m asking you to come put your arms around me, take my hand.”
The two men were silent.
The incident Feb. 23 began when Seymour and Taylor watched a scooter rider almost run head-on into traffic on Duval Street from Truman Avenue. Seymour called out to the man and Taylor asked him if perhaps he should be walking, given his drunken demeanor.
Davis responded hatefully, the men said, calling them faggots, asking if they wanted to suck his penis and noting they had probably come from a nearby gay bar. Then, Davis added they probably voted for “that bitch Hillary” and that they were “in Trump country now!”
The couple left the scene but Davis followed them for nearly five blocks, ramming Seymour’s rear bike tire with his scooter tire.
“He wouldn’t let us get away from him,” Taylor said.
“I tried to save this man’s life,” Seymour told Miller, the judge. “He tried to end mine.”
When the couple told Davis they were calling police, they said Davis replied, “If you call the cops I will cut that faggot body up,” and told them he was a correctional officer.
In court, Davis presented himself as a landscaper.
Miller also ordered Davis undergo a substance abuse and a psychological evaluation and take anger management classes. A portion of his community service must be LGBTQ-related.
“I haven’t said I haven’t had an alcohol problem,” Davis said in court, looking at the couple. “I’m asking for your forgiveness, more than anybody.”
The couple said they were disappointed Davis walked away without any time in jail.
“At the end of the day he assaulted us,” said Taylor. “At least a few days in jail.”
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen