New York police are searching for a man who screamed homophobic slurs at a stranger before beating him in an apparent anti-gay hate crime.
Police say the victim, a 21-year-old man, was walking near a grocery store on First Avenue, near East 81st Street, on June 12 around 3 a.m. when the assailant approached him.
The older man began ranting and hurling anti-gay comments at the victim, before striking him multiple times with his fist, leaving the 21-year-old with a broken nose, facial injuries, and a black eye, according to police.
The victim was able to transport himself to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries, according to the New York Daily News.
Given the use of anti-gay slurs, and the seeming randomness of the attack, the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attack.
Police have released a photo of the alleged assailant and are asking for the public’s help identifying him.
The suspect is described as a bald man between 25 to 40 years old, and was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, black pants, dark brown boots, and carrying a black book bag.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
The attack comes at a time when anti-gay sentiment is on the rise in response to increased LGBTQ visibility.
Recently, three men were caught on surveillance camera destroying Pride flags mounted on a fence near the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.
In May, a homeless man was charged with several hate crimes for allegedly defecating on an LGBTQ Pride flag and wiping his behind with another. Both flags had been hung as decorations at a Manhattan restaurant.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!