Two more possible bias attacks investigated in New York City

May 21, 2013 8:31:02 PM PDT
Police are investigating two separate incidents in which men were attacked in possible bias crimes.

In one, a 45-year-old man was attacked late Monday in the East Village by a drinking companion who yelled an anti-gay slur and knocked him unconscious, police said. A suspect was being sought.

In the second, two men were walking in lower Manhattan at about 5 a.m. Tuesday when two other men yelled anti-gay insults in Spanish and attacked them. The pair were arrested on hate crime assault charges.

The two victims, police described as a gay couple, were walking on Broadway at around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday morning when they got in a dispute with two other men, say police.

Words were exchanged, and one of the men said a Spanish language anti gay slur, to the victims. Police say he then punched his victim in the face.

The punched man sustained "a scratch above his eye" in the attack. He declined medical treatment at the scene.

The suspects, a man in his 20s and a man in his 30s, were taken into custody.

They were charged with third degree assault.

In the second incident, the victim, 45 year old Dan Contarino, and the suspect both live at a nearby homeless shelter, on Avenue D.

They left the shelter to have drinks and then went to get pizza.

Police said the victim said at some point they had a conversation about homosexually. The suspect became enranged, yelled anti gay remarks and struck the victim several times in the face. Contarino went unconscious and woke up at Bellevue Medical Center.

The suspect is not in custody but detectives know his identity and are looking for him. This is being investigated as a possible bias crime.

Authorities are now stepping up patrols in the areas where these attacks occured.

"No person, regardless of what they lool like or who they love, should ever walk down the street in fear," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

At a police headquarters briefing, Bloomberg called the violence deplorable.

"We are a place that celebrates diversity, a place where people from around the world come to live free of prejudice and persecution, and hate crimes like these are an offense against all we stand for as a city," the mayor said.

The increased police presence in several Manhattan neighborhoods will continue through the end of June, which is Gay Pride Month.