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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gay Man Beaten in West Village: LGBT Attacks Must Stop

By Jennifer Millman -

Cops probe yet another alleged hate-crime attack.

The 26-year-old man severely beaten last weekend in what police are probing as a possible hate-crime said the "traumatic" attack was indicative of the larger issue of violence against gay and transgender people in the city.
"This has been a traumatic experience for me, my friends and my family," Damian Furtch, who was allegedly attacked by two men in the West Village early Sunday, said in a statement. "This has to stop. Under no circumstance should a person be attacked for their sexual orientation."
After finishing work at the nearby Pink Tea Cup Restaurant in the West Village, Furtch and his pal ordered food at the McDonald's on Sixth Avenue around 4:30 a.m., when two men allegedly began to hassle them as they waited for their orders.
Leery of stares from the two men, Furtch says he stepped outside the fast-food spot to make a phone call "in an effort to avoid the tension in the restaurant and remove myself from the situation," according to a prepared statement.
Furtch said he told one of the men he stepped out to make a call and had no problem with him. That's when, according to Furtch's statement, the second man hit him on the side of his face, forcing him to stumble.
"Then I felt three punches to the face," Furtch said.
After the attack, Furtch said he stumbled back into the McDonald's and told his friend they needed to go to the hospital because he had been assaulted. The friends rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, where Furtch says he received medical attention.
Earlier, Furtch posted pictures of his bruised, bloodied swollen face on Facebook and commented on his wall: "I thought I was safe in the city I loved but apparently wearing fluorescent colored clothing and pink shoelaces really bother some f-----g a--holes to blind side me and hit me."
Those photos have since been removed.
Furtch also previously indicated on his Facebook profile that he had to get four stitches.
Cops are still looking for the alleged attackers. One of the suspects reportedly has a large tattoo of a Gothic cross under his left eye.
Furtch said he wants to work with community groups to raise visibility around the issue of anti-gay violence in New York.
Police have heightened their attention to potential hate-crime investigations after a spate of anti-gay attacks across the five boroughs in recent months. At least one teenager has died as a result of what investigators believe to be a hate-crime beating.
Earlier this month, 18-year-old Anthony Collao, of Queens, was jumped and viciously beaten with a metal pipe after attending a birthday party over the weekend. Police think Collao was targeted because his attackers thought he was gay; the teenager's friends say he wasn't gay, but the men hosting the birthday party were openly gay. Collao died March 14 after being taken off life support.
Cops arrested five suspects in connection with the Collao investigation. They face manslaughter and assault charges.


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