Two men have been charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and other charges in connection with an alleged anti-gay attack at a bodega in New York’s Bushwick neighborhood.
Christopher Clemente, 37, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Jonathan Carter, 31, of Ocean Hill, were arrested last month after photos of the incident that were captured on a surveillance camera were released to the public and circulated on social media.
Carter was arraigned on Friday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 26-count indictment in which he and Clemente are charged with second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree assault as a hate crime and other charges stemming from the beating of a 36-year-old and 29-year-old man. Prosecutors have alleged the victims were targeted for their perceived sexual orientation.
Carter’s bail was set at $10,000. He will next appear in court on Dec. 10. Clemente, who’s being held on $150,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond, is expected to be indicted this week, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. An indictment does not carry a presumption of guilt.
The incident took place at a bodega at 1559 Broadway on Sept. 4 around 2:10 a.m., when the victims had gone to the bodega to buy food. While waiting to be served, they were approached by, and got into a verbal dispute with two men who made several anti-gay statements and hurled homophobic slurs at them.
According to prosecutors, Clemente allegedly punched the 36-year-old repeatedly in the face. Carter then struck him in the head and body with a glass liquor bottle. The man fell to the floor, whereupon Clemente repeatedly stabbed him with a screwdriver.
Clemente and a third assailant — who has yet to be identified or arrested — then allegedly chased after the 29-year-old, repeatedly stabbing him while uttering homophobic slurs.
Initial police reports claimed that the assailants stole the victims’ property during the attack.
Both men’s injuries were so severe they had to be hospitalized. The 36-year-old suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, buttocks, and lung, causing a collapsed left lung. The 29-year-old suffered multiple stab wounds to his body, including his neck and lungs, which caused both of his lungs to collapse, prosecutors say.
“The two victims in this case suffered serious and life-threatening injuries in a completely unprovoked attack,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “The defendants’ actions were particularly egregious as they allegedly attacked two innocent people because they believed them to be gay.
“No one should be targeted because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. We must all be able to safely walk the streets of our city without fear of being senselessly attacked.”
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