Metro Weekly

Suspect arrested for allegedly beating a gay man with a metal pole in Coney Island

Jawhar Edwards says he was attacked, robbed, and called anti-gay slurs by a man and a woman last month after going to feed the homeless.

Jawhar Edwards, the victim in the Coney Island assault, speaks at a press conference on Dec. 10, 2021. – Photo: FOX 5 New York.

The New York Police Department has arrested a suspect accused of brutally beating a gay man with a metal bar on the Coney Island boardwalk.

The victim, Jawhar Edwards, says he was attacked around midnight on Nov. 4 when he went to the Riegelmann Boardwalk, in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, to feed the homeless.

Edwards, an out gay man, had gone to the boardwalk and set up tables of food, without incident, for years prior to the attack.

But on that early morning, two attackers — a man and a woman — called him a “f****t” and hit him in the eye with a metal pole, breaking three bones in his left eye socket and causing him to lose vision in that eye.

The two assailants then robbed Edwards of his mobile phone, coat, all the money in his pockets, and even his walker.

“I went down to feed the homeless. In return, I got assaulted, I got gay-bashed, I got robbed of my belongings. I got called a f***t, I got told, ‘If I see you again, I am going to kill you,'” Edwards said at a Dec. 10 press conference called to highlight a recent spike in anti-LGBTQ crimes.

Bystanders on the boardwalk ignored Edwards’ plight and did not lend aid. Ultimately, someone notified first responders, who arrived on scene and transported him to Kings County Hospital, reports FOX 5 New York.

Edwards suffered a fractured eye socket and required reconstructive surgery. He has subsequently undergone multiple surgeries, racking up a great deal of medical debt. He also says he lives with constant anxiety about being attacked for being gay for the third time in his life.

Edwards was previously attacked three years ago after he accidentally bumped onto a fellow straphanger on the subway, prompting that individual to assault him in a homophobic rage. He also claims he was subjected to homophobia in a building in which he previously lived, according to Gay City News.

See also: Oregon man accused of using Grindr to attack a gay man, beating him with a wooden club

The NYPD said it arrested 21-year-old Infenet Millington, a homeless individual, for the attack, charging him with second-degree robbery — the only arrest made so far in the case.

Edwards claims he told police that the attackers yelled anti-LGBTQ slurs at him, but police did not say the case is being investigated as a hate crime, with one law enforcement source telling Gay City News that the case notes don’t include any mentions of anti-gay comments.

New York State Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Brooklyn) organized a Dec. 10 rally, at which Edwards spoke, to denounce violence against the LGBTQ community. According to the NYPD, hate crimes against LGBTQ people are up 139% over last year.

“I stand here today ashamed that more than 50 years after the Stonewall riots, members of the LGBT community are still at risk and have to watch their backs as they are walking down the street,” Frontus said during the press conference. “We will not tolerate hate or discrimination or violence of any kind right here in our backyard.”

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