As many as four men assaulted early on Martin Luther King holiday
A still unidentified assailant, who may have been motivated by anti-gay bias, committed a series of assaults in Hell’s Kitchen early in the morning on January 16.
“I was walking home along Ninth Avenue,” Frederick Bodner, 28, told Gay City News, saying he saw a white male attacking a “blond guy.”
Bodner said, “I just heard fighting or something. I saw two guys brawling. As the blond guy started running across the street, the other guy started yelling ‘Faggot, pussy.’”
Bodner observed this at about 2 a.m. on West 52nd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. There are at least two gay bars on that block. The assailant was accompanied by three to five other men, but Bodner did not see the others participate in the attacks. The assailant hit several men.
“I guess there were four guys who were attacked,” Bodner said. “It was unprovoked.”
Bodner said the blond guy “had a really bloody nose, swollen upper brow, eventually a black eye.” Bodner was told that another victim had broken ribs. A group of witnesses and some victims, who gathered after the assailant and other men left in a car, discussed what they saw.
Responding to an email, the city’s Fire Department, wrote, “We have record of an incident at 364 W 52 Street btw 8/9 Aves at 2:06 am on 1/16/12. Call was for an injured individual who had possibly been assaulted. A male, 28 y/o, with injuries to his face, was transported to Roosevelt Hspt.”
The police department did not respond to two emails seeking information on the assault.
Witnesses said that two uniformed police officers came in response to 911 calls, but they could not say what precinct the officers were from. Witnesses obtained a partial license plate number, EY8172, which they gave to police, though they could not say what state the plates were from. The car was a white or silver two- or four-door.
“Unfortunately, none of us had a lot of information that we could offer them,” said a second witness, who asked to remain anonymous. That witness said he saw two victims taken into the ambulance.
The assailant was white, about 6 feet, two inches tall, and was wearing a white hoodie, jeans, and sneakers, according to the second witness. In addition to the assailant, the second witness saw two other men get into the car.
“I think three got into it, including two who had been hovering,” he said.
The assailant looked “serious and threatening,” the second witness said. “He just kind of sucker punched people out of nowhere.”
It is not clear if the car’s driver ever got out of the car. Bodner said the driver, who said, “Come on, let’s go, ”may have been Latino. All the men climbed into the car and left.
Comments by the second witness suggested that the driver was waiting to take the men away.
“Just as quickly as it began, a car sped backwards down the street,” the second witness said.
Bodner said he had reached out to the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office.
“AVP is aware of the incident and is available to anyone who has witnessed or experienced violence and encourages community members to reach out to us through our hotline or at our office if they need support,” Sharon Stapel, AVP’s executive director, wrote in an email.
AVP's 24-hour bilingual hotline number is 212-714-1141.