Victim of Latest Gay Hate Crime Speaks Out
By Kiratiana Freelon on October 19, 2010 3:20pm |
By Olivia Scheck and Tara Kyle
GREENWICH VILLAGE — The bruised and battered victim of an alleged hate crime spoke out for the first time Tuesday, describing how he tried to protect patrons from a violent hatemonger while he tended bar at a gay landmark.
Bartender Greg Davis, 38, was still nursing a swollen right cheek as he stood outside the LGBT Center in Greenwich Village and recalled last week's attack at Julius' Bar, on West 10th Street
He described how he was working the bar on Oct. 11 when a hulking Frederick Giunta, 45, walked in and started picking on an African-American customer, hurling racial and homophobic slurs at him.
Minutes earlier, police said Giunta had punched a 31-year-old Brooklyn man after trying to snatch his wallet outside the nearby Ty's Bar, on Christopher Street.
"He could really hurt someone," Davis said of Giunta. "I was absolutely deteremined to do what small part I could to get him off the street."
"I tried to move the other customers away from him, they were upset, and he punched me."
Davis, a former Wall Street underwriter who lives in Chelsea, said he was left "spitting blood" for the next hour.
"It's upsetting to think that when you got to work, you could be a victim," he said.
Giunta, who has been charged with assault as a hate crime, is currently being held at Rikers Island on $25,000 bail and is due back in court on Oct. 21.
Davis spoke to DNAinfo before attending an emergency response meeting at the LGBT Center attended by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane and workers from the Julius' Bar, Ty's Bar and advocacy group the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
"We have seen a series of incredibly disturbing anti-LGBT hate crimes recently in our five boroughs," said Quinn.
Quinn called for security footage from cameras at local businesses to be used to help track down perpetrators, pointing to recent initiative in Staten Island that helped nab suspects.
The speaker also hit out at recent anti-gay remarks by gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, calling such comments "extremely dangerous."
The bartender agreed.
"I do think it breeds an atmosphere where people are emboldened to come out and express their displeasure with some of us," he said. "That's not right."