Two men approached a gay couple in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx on July 7 and hurled anti-gay slurs, menaced them with knives, cutting one of them, and attempted to rob them in the middle of the day, according to the victims and police.
“I was going to this clinic right here with my partner and then boom, all of this happened,” said 27-year-old Kelson Akomolafe, who was attacked at around noon alongside his partner, 30-year-old Edward Hoard, at the corner of Third Avenue and Brook Avenue. The pair were on their way to a doctor’s appointment when the two men pounced, according to Akomolafe, who recalled the incident in a Facebook Live video moments after the attack.
“We just came out of the street and this guy starts saying something like, Ooh, we know you’re gay,” explained Akomolafe, who said the attackers also called the couple “faggots” and “batty men,” an anti-gay slur used in Jamaica.
Akomolafe continued, “I said, ‘Do you know this guy?’ He said ‘No,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, let’s keep walking.’ All of a sudden… the guy pulled up a knife trying to rob me of my bag… so I put him on the ground…”
The Facebook Live video showed blood splattered on the ground stemming from the incident. Akomolafe, who is from Nigeria, said the attackers also voiced xenophobic sentiments.
In a subsequent Facebook LIve video, Akomolafe said one attacker grabbed his bag and the other pulled out a knife. He subdued the man with the knife, while his partner subdued the other man. In the process, Akomolafe said the knife cut his finger and damaged his phone.
Ricky Bellevue, 35, and Trevel Parris, 28, were charged with menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, and robbery, assault, and harassment — the last three charged as hate crimes, according to pollice. Bellevue was also hit with a harassment stalking charge.
According to the New York Daily News, the cops initially put Akomolafe in handcuffs, along with the attackers, apparently thinking he was one of the assailants. He was subsequently released and spent the next several hours answering cops’ questions.
Bellevue has a history of mental health issues, police sources told the Daily News. He recently landed in the news when he was the victim of an illegal chokehold by a police officer near Rockaway Beach. The officer in that case, David Afanador, was the first cop charged under the new chokehold law dubbed the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act.
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