A 25-year-old man was beat up by two individuals along a Jackson Heights street on Sunday night in an assault that’s now being investigated as a possible bias crime.
Police said the attack occurred at about 10 p.m. on June 3 in the vicinity of 83rd Street and 37th Avenue.
Sources familiar with the investigation said that the victim was walking through the area when he was approached from behind by two male suspects, both of whom yelled profanities and an anti-gay slur at him. They then proceeded to punch the man from behind multiple times, knocking him to the ground in the process.
Following the assault, the perpetrators fled on foot northbound on 37th Avenue toward 83rd Street.
Officers from the 115th Precinct responded to the incident. The victim suffered a bruised lip, a bloodied nose and other minor injuries, but refused medical attention.
Police described the two suspects as black men of an unknown age. No other descriptive information was immediately available.
The assault occurred just hours after members of the LGBT community celebrated Pride Month during the Queens Pride Parade along 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights. State Senator Jose Peralta quickly condemned the possible bias crime in a statement issued on Monday afternoon.
“Just hours after we all came together and celebrated the Queens Pride Parade, a neighbor was attacked in the district as the perpetrators slurred anti-gay epithets at him. This is intolerable,” Peralta said. “As the NYPD investigates this savage crime, it is my hope that the attacker or attackers are prosecuted and held accountable for their actions. We must ensure we all work together to put an end to hate, and send a clear message of unity and solidarity.”
Councilman Daniel Dromm, who represents much of Jackson Heights and chairs the City Council’s LGBT Caucus, expressed outrage about the attack.
“It is horrific that a member of the LGBTQ community experienced such violence after Queens Pride, a celebration of who we are,” Dromm said in a June 5 statement. “I founded the parade in 1993 as a way to fight back against such anti-LGBTQ oppression. While the fight for equality and justice for LGBTQ people in Queens has come a long way since then, sadly, attacks like these still occur. They are in no way representative of Jackson Heights or our borough, and we will continue to resist attempts like these which seek to force us back into the closet. Queens Pride is about LGBTQ visibility, our greatest asset, and will remain so.”
Anyone with information regarding the assault can call the 115th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-533-2039 or Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. All calls are kept confidential.
QNS will have further details about the assault as they become available. This story was updated on June 5 at 11:15 a.m.