Two gay men knocked unconscious in homophobic attack in Brooklyn

Sofia Lotto Persio September 24, 2018
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NYPD released an image of the suspect. (New York City Police Department)

Police in New York City are seeking information about a man suspected of attacking two gay men in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn early on Sunday (September 23).

Investigators said the suspect, a Caucasian man who was wearing a black T-shirt and khaki-coloured trousers, first approached the two men making anti-gay comments, and then attacked them, local news channel WABC-TV reported.

The attacker punched the first man, a 34-year-old, in the face and then threw the second man, a 29-year-old, against a tree. Both victims fell unconscious and were brought to a hospital, while the suspect fled.

The 34-year-old suffered a fractured shoulder, while the 29-year-old received treatment for a fractured finger, the New York Post reported. They are both expected to recover.

The attack took place on Metropolitan Avenue, a street crowded with bars and eateries, including the nearby Metropolitan gay bar.

Williamsburg, a hip area of Brooklyn that connects to Manhattan via the namesake Williamsburg bridge, is largely considered to be LGBT+ friendly, although there have been homophobic attacks in the past.

The attack took place on Metropolitan Avenue, a street crowded with bars and eateries, including the nearby Metropolitan gay bar (David Silverman/Getty)

Two attacks targeting gay people took place within a week in April last year. In April 2017, two teenagers aged 13 and 15 years addressed a gay couple with homophobic slurs and even threw a brick that hit one of the men in the leg. A few days later, a 19-year-old beat a 63-year-old gay man with a guitar—the teenager was arrested for the homophobic attack in May.

Hate crimes in the US against LGBT+ people have been on the increase in the past few years, according to FBI data. Producer and director Ryan Murphy dedicated his recent Emmy win for Netflix’s limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace to victims of LGBT hate crime.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace is about a lot of things, it’s about homophobia, internalised and externalised. It’s about a country that allows hatred to grow, unfettered and unchecked,” he said in his acceptance speech for the Best Limited Series or TV Movie Award.

Murphy added: “One of out of every four LGBTQ people in this country will be the victim of a hate crime. We dedicate this award to them, to awareness, to stricter hate crime laws, and mostly, this is for the memory of Jeff and David and Gianni and for all of those taken too soon.”

More: anti-LGBT hate crimes, Brooklyn, Homophobia, US

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