Accused assailant in latest hate crime released on his own recognizance
An East Harlem teen was arraigned Sunday after allegedly striking a prominent gay activist..
Manuel Riquelme, 19, was walking with a group of youths around 3 a.m. Saturday when he hollered a gay slur at Eugene Lovendusky, a founder of Queer Uprising, who was outside 350 West 42nd St. with his boyfriend and another friend, the NYPD said.
When Lovendusky, 28, of Queens, told Riquelme not to make harassing statements, Riquelme slapped him in the face, according to police and court documents.
Lovendusky and his friends called the police, who drove them around until Riquelme and the eight to 10 youths accompanying him were spotted. Riquelme, who was released on his own recognizance, is next due in court July 10.
Prior to Lovendusky's attack, the NYPD said there had been 24 reported hate crimes so far in NYC in 2013 - 10 times more than last year. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, alluding to the fatal shooting of Mark Carson in Greenwich Village early May 18, suggested the uptick may be due in part to victims being more willing to come forward. "We believe that these sort of bias crimes are underreported," Kelly said in a press conference yesterday. "Now they're being reported and we think that's a good thing," he added, urging all victims to report such crimes to the police.