3 gay men attacked night of rally against hate crimes
Hours after the city rallied against the killing of a gay man in Greenwich Village, three gay men were attacked in two separate incidents in lower Manhattan, the NYPD said.
Party promoter Dan Contarino was attacked near Avenue D and Fourth Street by Roman Gornell, 39, according to the NYPD, after the two had drinks in the area. They began discussing Contarino's sexuality, and Gornell first responded indifferently, saying he had gay family members, according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
But moments later he "snapped," attacking Contarino and knocking him unconscious, Kelly said. Police are still looking for Gornell, who they say had known Contarino for about a month before Monday night's attack.
About seven hours later, gay couple Steven Dixon, 42, and Michael Coleman, 41, were walking on Broadway in lower Manhattan when two men started yelling homophobic slurs at the couple, Kelly said. Moments Dixon and Coleman were attacked, with Dixon receiving a minor injury to his eye.
Fabian Ortiz, 32, of Washington Heights, and Pedro Jimenez, 23, of Brooklyn, were arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime for attacking the couple, Kelly said.
Hate crimes overall were are down 30% in the city since last year, but crimes against homosexuals have skyrocketed 70% compared to the same time last year, with 29 such attacks reported in 2013 compared to 14 in May 2012, according to Kelly.
He added that the NYPD has assigned extra police officers to the areas in which the attacks occurred, and that bias crime is overall underreported.
At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kelly condemned the attacks, saying "it's not a good day for New York, this is a sad day."
"We are a place that celebrates diversity - a place where people from around the world come to live free of prejudice and persecution," Bloomgerg said. "Hate crimes like these are an offense against all we stand for as a city, and we will do everything possible to stop them, whether that hatred is based on race, gender, sexualorientation, religion or ethnicity."