A man will spend 10 years in prison for stabbing two people in Bushwick during an unprovoked homophobic attack.
Christopher Clemente, a 38-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant resident was sentenced on Wednesday to a decade behind bars, along with five years’ post-release supervision, for the hate crime after he had pled guilty last month.
According to investigators, Clemente and an alleged accomplice approached the two male victims, aged 36 and 29, inside a Bushwick bodega at 1559 Broadway just after 2 a.m. in September of 2021, before launching into an anti-gay rant directed at the two men.
The younger of the two victims is not gay, but the attackers apparently believed that the two men were a couple.
At one point, one of the attackers yelled, “I know you’re not coming out here. I don’t f*** with f****ts.”
“I don’t f**k with f***ts. I’m going to kill you guys,” the suspect allegedly told the victims. “I don’t f**k with that gay s**t.”
The situation escalated soon after when Clemente punched the elder victim, a former marine, in the face, and his alleged partner-in-crime, Jonathan Carter, smashed a glass liquor bottle over the victim’s head.
Both alleged attackers didn’t let up, and kept assaulting the 36-year-old while he was defenseless on the floor — before Clemente ultimately stabbed the man multiple times in his head and body, according to District Attorney Eric Gonzaelz’s office.
Soon after, the attackers approached the 29-year-old victim, before Clemente stabbed him as well multiple times.
At no point during the incident did the suspects’ homophobic slurs subside.
Both suspects allegedly took cash and other valuables from the victims, before fleeing the scene prior to cops arriving, according to previous reporting by Brooklyn Paper. They were both later tracked down and arrested.
Paramedics rushed both victims to a nearby hospitals with multiple stab wounds.
The elder victim suffered a collapsed left lung, while both of the younger man’s lungs collapsed, the DA said.
In a phone interview from the hopsital with Brooklyn Paper‘s sister publication, Gay City News, the elder victim recounted the horrific attack.
“I was fighting for my life,” he said. “I can’t tell how many people were fighting with me at this point. I was also trying to keep an eye out for my friend, telling him to run and telling him to call the cops.”
After the stabbing, former District Leader Samy Nemir Olivares, who now works for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ+ rights organization, organized a rally to call attention to the homophobic attack, and expressed his dismay on social media.
“Absolutely horrified by this homophobic hate crime in my neighborhood,” he said. “Hate crimes to LGBTQ, women, BIPOC are on the rise and we know that’s part of the horrific legacy of the Trump era but also result of the persistent patriarchal society & toxic male politics that keeps fueling homophobia, transphobia & misogyny.”
Clemente pled guilty to second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime in January, and Carter’s case remains ongoing in the Kings County court system.
“This vicious attack on two innocent victims was an intolerable act of anti-gay violence, and today’s sentence sends a strong message that we will vigorously prosecute anyone who commits a hate crime,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “Nobody should fear that they’ll be attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and we are committed to vigilantly protecting the rights of Brooklyn’s LGBTQ community.”
In 2021, when the attack occurred, the NYPD had made 219 arrests for violent hate crimes, according to police statistics.