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NYC’s Finest Searching for Slur-Slinging Assailants

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Jul 8, 2013

New York City's police department is looking for several alleged perpetrators following the latest episodes of anti-gay violence to occur there.

The latest incidents in the city's ongoing spate of homophobic aggression saw an alleged attack against a couple of gay men at a midtown deli, and a pair of slur-spewing men creating a disturbance on a subway car bound for Queens.

The incidents took place a week apart.

On Sunday, June 30, a group of gay youths boarded the F train on New York's subway system, headed toward Queens, according to an Associated Press story. Earlier in the day, New York's Gay Pride festivities had been celebrated.

The group was harassed by two men who hurled anti-gay invective at them. A witness attempted to record the incident on video using her cell phone, the article reported; the abusers reportedly shoved the woman, and she suffered minor injuries.

The attackers departed the train at the Jackson Heights stop.

Local news station WCBS-TV reported on the incident. The cell phone footage is available for viewing on YouTube. The city's police department is looking for tips that will lead to the arrest of the alleged perpetrators, and encourages anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

In the early hours of Sunday, July 7, two gay men were similarly harassed by a man who hurled anti-gay abuse at them and reportedly kicked one of the men, according to a July 8 New York Daily News story. The altercation took place at midtown deli Speedy's, located at 1271 Broadway. The NYPD released a security video image of the alleged attacker, reportedly a Hispanic man who appeared to be in his 40s.

The summer has seen a number of anti-gay incidents, some of them more serious than others. In late June, a gay man was set upon and beaten at Queens eatery Players Bar and Restaurant. Mohamed "Zaman" Amin had gone to Players in support of his brother's same-sex partner, who was part of a cooking contest hosted by the establishment. An exchange between Amin and the event's emcee over a remark the emcee had made ("The gays are in the house!") evidently spurred Amin's alleged attacker, a musician named Naresh Bhagarattie, whose band was playing at the event. As reported at EDGE last week, Bhagarattie snatched the trophy for the contest -- which Amin's brother's partner had won -- and clubbed Amin over the head with it.

Amin alleged that the establishment's staff had been complicit in the attack by failing to respond appropriately.

"The bouncer let my basher run before the cops came," Amin claimed. "I was attacked because I am gay. Hate crimes must stop. No one gives another person the right to hit another. We are all children of God."

"The Anti-Violence Project, a non-profit organization that follows hate crimes, issued a report on June 3, 2013, stating that there is 4% increase in violence towards LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers," the July 2 EDGE article reported.

"The truly alarming fact is that this violence happens to LGBTQ people every day," Sharon Stapel, The Anti-Violence Project's Executive Director, noted.

"This is the fourth year in a row that AVP has seen an increase in violence against LGBTQ New Yorkers," Stapel added. "At AVP, we are working with community members and leaders to bring safety to each neighborhood in every borough throughout New York City. Now, more than ever, we need our friends and allies to join us."

AVP has issued a list of safety tips and suggestions for what to do in the event of an anti-gay attack:

- Have a safety plan and plan in advance what will happen if you feel unsafe.

- Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged, if you have one.

- Be aware of your surroundings and be aware of exits and other escape routes, even if you're familiar with the location.

- Trust your instincts: If you feel threatened or unsafe at any point, leave the area as quickly as possible.

- If possible, consider medical attention or getting counseling after any incident: Violence can create many physical and emotional issues.

- Document the incident: Take photos of any injuries; keep records of emails, texts, calls.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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