CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn -- A man who was brutally beaten with a metal pipe while passing out food on the Coney Island boardwalk says he was the victim of a hate crime.
His eye is still swollen after his eye socket was broken, and Jawhar Edwards' spirit needs healing too.
"This shouldn't have to happen to anybody I am a Coney Island resident," Edwards said.
The 37-year-old says he was attacked on the Coney Island boardwalk near 19th Street on Nov. 4 around 12:30 a.m. while passing out food.
"From 2018 to present day I go feed the homeless after 10 o'clock, there is no services, they have to eat out of the garbage," Edwards said.
That's when he was beaten with a metal pipe and robbed.
"I have to have two surgeries, I have three broken bones in my eye socket," Edwards said. "My walker, my phone, my coat, money inside of it."
Police arrested a 21-year-old homeless man named Infenet Millington who is now charged with second degree robbery.
But Edwards says he should also be charged with a hate crime after he was called gay.
Reported hate crimes are up 100% from this time last year. Anti-gay crimes are up 193%.
"Hate and discrimination has no place in our society," said Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus.
Frontus hosted a rally with community leaders to take a stand.
"Whether you're Black, white, green, yellow, LGBTQ, this is about coming together, one common cause and that cause is peace," said Derick Iatif Scott with Operation H.O.O.D.
They are using what happened as a renewed call to action.
"Look at my face, I can't see out of my eye at all, just because I'm gay," Edwards said.
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