Crime

David Shefte among trio cited for throwing snowballs -- but not for calling target a "faggot"

This weekend, David Shefte, David Trainer and Kurt Heckle learned you can get ticketed for throwing snowballs in Aspen.

Crazy? Maybe -- but there were some extenuating circumstances, including the ages of the alleged attackers and the descriptive word they hurled at their victim after he dared to complain.

According to the Aspen Times, Shefte, Trainer and Heckel aren't elementary-school boys being boys; they're 28, 28 and 36, respectively. And rather than hiding behind a parked car or around a corner, like snowballers from time immemoral, they perched on the roof of the Pitkin County Dry Goods store, ensuring that their orbs would pick up plenty of speed by the time they reached people walking down the street.

Like, for instance, the guy who took a snowball straight in the face. He reportedly confronted the men about their idea of fun, prompting one of them to call him a "faggot" -- a term that likely encouraged him to alert the police. Shortly thereafter, Shefte and company were written up, but not for a hate crime. Turns out there's a city code on the Aspen books entitled "throwing missiles prohibited."

By the way, the version of this story offered by the Denver Post edits out the word "faggot," presumably because of its "family newspaper" image. But by not even alluding to the term, the paper's piece omits an important part of the story.

Which is that these guys might have gotten away with their dastardly deeds if they'd just giggled and run away instead of tossing something else -- an idiotic slur.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Stephen Edward Siebold allegedly bites the hand of the woman who won't buy him beer."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts