Last week’s anti-gay attack on Luquer Street has put a stain on Carroll Gardens, as well as the entire borough, residents and elected officials said last week as they encouraged the police to make a quick arrest.
Hate Crimes detectives are currently investigating claims made by a 22-year-old Red Hook resident who said that five men attacked him while he made his way home past the corner of Luquer Street and Hamilton Avenue at 12:50 a.m. on March 2.
The victim, a Hispanic male, claimed that the suspects, who are also Hispanic, fired off several anti-gay slurs as they beat him, leaving him with cuts and bruises to his face and the back of his head. They reportedly followed him from South Brooklyn Pizza, which was hosting a “gay night” that Monday.
Sources said that when cops arrived the victim didn’t report what was said during the attack. It wasn’t until a few days later, when the victim was being interviewed by a detective, did he mention the slurs, and a hate crime investigation began.
It was unclear if the victim was openly gay or if his attackers simply assumed he was homosexual, officials said.
Captain Kenneth Corey, the commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, said that this is the first hate crime investigation held in the area since last fall. In that case, several swastikas were found in Carroll Gardens as anti-Semitic preachers from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas came to the borough. No anti-gay attacks have been logged with the precinct since he took command, he said.
“Right now finding the people responsible for this is our top priority,” Corey said. “We’re taking a number of measures to make sure we can help the Hate Crime investigators anywhere we can.”
Cops admit, however, that they have an uphill battle — the victim couldn’t provide them with a description of any of the attackers.
News of the attack spread like wildfire in Carroll Gardens, which is home to a large and growing LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) community.
“I’m equally outraged at this action and frightened that something like this would occur in my back yard,” said Bob Zuckerman, a longtime Carroll Gardens activist and member of the Lambda Independent Democrats, the borough’s largest LGBT political club. “To think that someone would be singled out on the fact that they were gay is pretty frightening. It makes you stop and think, ‘This could happen to me,’ but not just for LGBT people but anyone who is perceived to be LGBT.”
“We’re outraged by the brutal and hate-filled assault on a member of Brooklyn’s LGBT community by a gang of five cowards, who apparently singled him out for attack because they suspected he was gay,” members of the Lambda Independent Democrats (LID), said in a statement. “We condemn violence against anyone under any circumstance.But gratuitous violence directed at an individual because he is gay, or because the attackers believe he is gay, affects not just the victim. This hate-filled violence threatens entire communities, leading all to feel unsafe and at risk of being targeted.”
“There is something especially disgusting about crimes motivated by hate — whether it be on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” added Borough President Marty Markowitz. “In Brooklyn our diversity is our strength, and when one of us is attacked, we are all attacked.”
“I am confident the NYPD will find the bigot thugs who did this — and make no mistake, they will find them,” he continued. “We must make sure they and anybody else who would contemplate such a crime gets the message loud and clear: intolerance will not be tolerated!”
Anyone with information regarding the attack can contact the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS or the 76th Precinct detective squad at (718) 834-3211. All calls will be kept confidential.