Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Couple Attacked in Heart of Gay-Friendly New York Neighborhood

NYPD sketches of suspects in Wednesday's attack on a gay couple in Chelsea.

NYPD sketches of suspects in Wednesday’s attack on a gay couple in Chelsea.

BREAKING NEWS: New York City, New York – Police have released sketches of two principle attackers who savagely assaulted a gay couple as they walked holding hands in Chelsea, one of the gay-friendliest sections of the Big Apple.  The suspects, according to CBS Local, are described by the NYPD as a black man wearing a white tee shirt, and a younger Hispanic male, probably in the 16 to 20 year old range, sporting tattoos on his arms.  The attack is being investigated as a bias-motivated hate crime by New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force as part of the wave of murder and assault taking place against LGBTQ people in New York this spring and summer.

Wednesday, August 14, shortly after midnight, Peter Notman, 53, and Michael Felenchak, 27, left the Chelsea Bowtie Cinemas on 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues holding hands.  As they walked along after turning down 24th Street, a two men shouting anti-gay slurs attacked them.  Four other men joined in the attack on the couple, according to Huffington Post coverage of the incident.  Notman said to CBS TV reporters, “It was six of them against the two of us. Typical of the cowards they are.”

One of the assailants used brass knuckles to strike the pair, and both Notman and Felenchak required hospitalization at Beth Israel Hospital, spending the entire night in the emergency room.  Notman said, “I was hit with brass knuckles down the side of my face, and I had contusions; had to have an MRI, and Michael received several stitches in his mouth where they punched us.”  Felechak required seven stitches to close his wounds.

By Thursday morning, the couple were passing out fliers and appearing before the media with local politicians to protest this latest hate crime attack against LGBTQ people.  “We have our complete faith in the NYPD — they are great guys; they’re amazing. They’re going to find the guys,” Felenchak said.

Micheal Felenchak (l) and Peter Notman (r), attacked while holding hands.

Micheal Felenchak (l) and Peter Notman (r), attacked while holding hands.

Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio, both candidates in the hotly contested New York Mayor’s race, spoke out against the rise in violence against LGBTQ people in the very city that gave birth to the modern human rights movement in Greenwich Village, not far from the site of this latest outrage against LGBTQ dignity.  “I am appalled by reports that two men were senselessly beaten in Chelsea simply because they were perceived to be gay,” Council Speaker Quinn said. “The cowardly individuals who committed this crime do not represent New Yorkers and our community will not be cowed by such violence. New York City’s greatest strength is our diversity, and we will not stand for attacks against anyone, for any reason.”  NYC Public Advocate de Blasio issued his statement to Huffington Post:  “We won’t let hate work its way into our communities. LGBTQ New Yorkers have the right to walk any street in this city free from violence or intimidation. We have to meet any bias attack against the LGBTQ community with aggressive action—both in our condemnation, and in our police response. I applaud the NYPD for doing exactly that. The community needs to know the City will meet its fundamental obligation to protect its people.”

Meanwhile, residents of Chelsea were still recovering from the news that their once highly touted gay-friendly neighborhood was no longer a safe place for gay men and lesbians to live open lives without fear.  Upper West Side resident, Corbin Reid told CBS New York, “A lot of homosexuals live here, and they feel safe here and I think they live here because they feel a sense of community. So to get attacked here is definitely disheartening, and it’s like getting attacked in your own home.” Chelseaite John Flippen said, “I suddenly have to be very aware of what I’m doing and restraining myself from anything that might draw attention and that’s no way to live. I didn’t come to Chelsea to live that way.”  Toby Berkowitz, another Chelsea resident, chimed in, “Chelsea of all places? Really? You’re here because it’s a very homogenized mix of people. We love that. But if you don’t feel safe in front of your local movie theater, where would you?”  

There have been no arrests as of press time today.  The search for the gay bashers continues in America’s largest city, where anti-LGBTQ attacks are up 70 per cent over last year.

Wilson Cruz, national spokesperson for GLAAD, summed up the outrage of the LGBTQ activist community over this latest attack, saying, “The rising number of anti-LGBT attacks around the country is staggering and needs to be addressed immediately. Nobody should have to fear simply walking down a street in their own neighborhood because of who they are.”  

August 16, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Bill de Blasio, Chelsea, Christine Quinn, gay bashing, gay men, GLAAD, GLBTQ, Greenwich Village, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, New York, New York City, New York Police Department (NYPD), Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bigots Target Birthplace of Gay Rights Movement With Hate-Crime Wave

Stonewall Inn, NYC, site of one of many recent anti-gay attacks

Greenwich Village, New York City, New York – The Villager reports a “hate-crime wave” striking Greenwich Village, acknowledged widely as the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement.  In the past two weeks, police and anti-violence advocates noted four violent attacks against patrons of gay bars.  A 45-year-old Queens man has been charged in the two most recent assaults with third-degree assault as a hate crime, and third-degree robbery for the attacks which both took place on October 11–just ten minutes apart.  Frederick Giunta allegedly punched a 31-year-old gay man in the face at Ty’s Bar on Christopher Street after grabbing the victim’s wallet.  Guinta then walked to Julius’ Bar on W. 159th and Waverly Place, where he allegedly attacked an African American bartender while shouting anti-gay and anti-black slurs at him.  According to The Villager, the suspect struck Greg Davis, 48, in the face while yelling at him, “What are you going to do?” and calling him a racial slur, then yelling at him, “You are a f—— faggot.” Sources in the police department told reporters that Guinta had a record of violence against gay men in the area since 2002, when he pleaded guilty to robbing a gay man he picked up at Rawhide Bar in Chelsea.  On October 4, two Staten Island men attacked a man in the restroom of the historic Stonewall Inn on Sheridan Square–but their intended victim fought back.  The New York Post reports that Matthew Francis, 21, and Christopher Orlando, 17, both of Staten Island, gay bashed a Washington, D.C. visitor to the Stonewall Inn with intent to harm and rob him.  Benjamin Carver, 34, their intended victim, fought back against the thugs, and drove them out of the restroom.  Carver and his boyfriend, with the assistance of the Stonewall Inn staff, threw the Staten Island men out of the bar.  Carver told the Post, “I was never afraid, throughout the whole experience.  To so many of these bullies, they think that gay people are an easy target, and that we’re just going to give in. Those two guys found out that night that’s not the case.” Carver and Orlando have been charged with assault as a hate crime and attempted robbery.  Choosing historic gay establishments like Stonewall Inn and Julius’s bar sends LGBT residents of the village an ominous warning: gay liberation is still a long time coming in the Empire State and the nation.  The Stonewall Inn was the scene of the outbreak of the Stonewall Uprising of June 1969, when street kids, lesbians, gay men, and drag queens fought back agains the oppression of the NYPD.  Julius’ Bar is the oldest continuing gay bar in Manhattan.  On October 1, 20-yer-old Andrew Jackson was arrested and charged with hate-crime assault and gang-related assault on three gay men on Ninth Avenue and 25th Street in Chelsea, just blocks away from the West Village bars where the later anti-gay attacks occurred.  Two other suspects are being sought by police in connection with the October 1 incident.  New York City Council Speaker, openly-lesbian Christine Quinn, credits the swift arrests in all these cases to the professionalism of the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.  Quinn told the Villager, “Tragically, this is just the most recent in a series of hate crimes to strike our city and neighborhoods in recent weeks.” New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Program’s Executive Director Sharon Stapel told the press, “This [October 11] attack underscores our need to stop the hate speech and anti-LGBTQ vitriol that results in this kind of attack.”

October 22, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Chelsea, Gang violence, gay men, harassment, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stonewall Inn, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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