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A 29-year-old doctor has had his jaw wired shut after being attacked early Saturday morning by a man who called him an anti-gay slur.
Sina Rezaie was walking home from the subway in Greenwich Village around 3 a.m. on July 3 when a man yelled an anti-gay slur at him. Moments later, the suspect violently attacked Rezaie, breaking his jaw in two places.
“He called me a [expletive] and then half a block later, he came from behind and kicked and punched me multiple times,” Rezaie told NBC4 in an interview.
After falling to the ground, witnesses say Rezaie stumbled to a nearby bar to get help. Two friends, Laurie Beck and Richard Delay, were working at the time. After they saw Rezaie, they tried to provide first aid and called police.
“I just kind of saw our friend walking outside kind of erratically and I called [Delay’s] attention ‘go see what’s going on with our neighbor, it looks like he’s distressed.’ [Delay] went outside to check it out, then he starts waving to me so I grabbed a bottle of water and some paper towels and ran outside,” Beck said.
“I saw him holding his mouth, blood running out from face. He said that he had gotten attacked by some guy who said something to him as he came off the train,” Delay told NBC4. “Apparently the guy called him a slur and then threw him to the ground, and started kicking him repeatedly.”
Rezaie was taken to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery. His jaw has been wired shut with screws and metal plates, and will have to remain wired shut for about a month.
He told NBC4 that, prior to the incident, he always felt safe in his neighborhood, and questions why he was targeted in the attack.
“I don’t know why this happened to me,” he said.
New York police are investigating whether the attack against him was motivated by hate. There are security cameras throughout the neighborhood that should have caught the attack on video, but thus far, police have not made any arrests.
The attack against Rezaie is one of several violent assaults directed against members of the LGBTQ community, or those perceived to be a part of it, in New York City. Following the lifting of social distancing restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in violent crime.
There have been several dozen violent incidents on New York City’s subway and bus system, including the stabbing of a transgender woman with a screwdriver, a stabbing of a subway rider in Manhattan, and the stabbing of a young Staten Island man who tried to intervene when he saw a man sexually harassing and menacing several women. This has led to calls for increased police presence on public transit and in neighborhoods that have seen an uptick in crime.
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