After a queer couple was attacked inside of a Jackson Heights eatery, NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
But more than that, LGBTQ community from the surrounding areas are calling on Pollos Mario at 81-01 Roosevelt Ave. to address the matter of their staff allegedly taking no initiative to stop the assault by several men.
“I’m still really concerned about what happened. I’m still really afraid and really nervous from the incident,” said Alberto Cruz, one of the two victims.
“This was a really awful experience that I wouldn’t wish on anybody else,” said the second victim, who went by Miguel. “This kind of violence needs to stop now, not just for the LGBT community, but for everybody in general. However I would like to say that the LGBT community is most vulnerable because we still face a lot of discrimination and violence in streets.”
According to NYPD, there was a 911 call about an assault at Pollos Marios on Sept. 13 at 4:38 a.m.
Cruz and Miguel were eating when they were approached by a group of about four to six men who instigated a verbal dispute, according to cops. Blows were struck and the two men were taken just blocks away to Elmhurst Hospital by EMS where they were treated for their wounds.
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz rallied alongside transgender activist Bianey Garcia, who was the victim of a transphobic attack in July while filming a documentary near the same location.
As a message to the business, Cruz said that if they plan to take part in the annual Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights, they must be willing to take their support a step further.
“Protecting our LGBTQI community needs to be an everyday job for all of us, not just for our neighbors, but for our business neighbors,” Cruz said. “The real work is when an incident like this happens. When you have to step in and take action. It can’t just be about the parties and it can’t just be about the amazing events, it has to be about the hard days when somebody is being attacked. Because if you want our money in your establishment, you’re going to want to stand up and you’re going to want to protect people in our community.”
A proprietor of Pollos Mario was not able to be reached and a manager QNS spoke to was not certain of what had happened during the early morning incident as he had been on vacation during the time.
This story will be updated if the restaurant chooses to comment.
NYPD told QNS that the suspects fled in an unknown vehicle to “parts unknown” after the attack and that there are currently no arrests. The Hate Crimes Task Force has opened an ongoing investigation.