Cops Investigating Attack of Gay Activist in Queens Bar as Hate Crime
By Pedro Oliveira Jr on June 25, 2013 5:45pm |
RICHMOND HILL — A gay-rights activist in Queens was allegedly bashed over the head on Sunday by a man who hurled homophobic slurs at him, in what police are investigating as yet another hate crime in a wave of rising violence against the city’s LGBT community, sources said.
Far Rockaway resident Mohamed "Zaman" Amin, 28, said he was smashed with a trophy at Liberty Avenue’s Players Bar and Restaurant on Sunday night by a man whose entourage had been allegedly harassing him and his friends with anti-gay remarks.
The incident began about 9 p.m. when one of the men, who was emceeing a duck curry cookoff at Players, announced to bar patrons that “the gays are in the house,” the victim said.
“I approached him and told him, ‘What you just did is very disrespectful to our people,’” Amin told DNAinfo New York on Tuesday.
“He laughed about it and walked away,” added Amin, who’s also known as drag queen Sundari Indian-Goddess. “I held his hand and told him, ‘You have to understand this is not a laughing matter.’”
The men continued to hurl more homophobic slang at the group, the victim said. Amin’s sister Bibi Amin jumped in and began arguing with one of the men. Another member of Amin’s entourage, Anoop Pandohie, traded punches with one of the alleged harassers.
That’s when the attacker, who is yet to be identified, picked up the second-place trophy Pandohie had won in the cookoff and allegedly bashed Amin over the head with it.
The Caribbean-born Amin, who’s an activist at the Queens gay rights group Chutney Pride, was rushed to Jamaica Hospital and needed seven staples to stop the bleeding.
“This was an attack on me but it’s also an attack on the LGBT community at large,” he said. “There have been so many attacks in Manhattan and now they’re moving to Queens."
NYPD is investigating Sunday's attack as a hate crime, a source said. The incident joins a growing number of hate crimes against the city's gay community, which culminated in the May 18 murder of Mark Carson, 32.
Police at the time said Carson's murder was at least the 22nd anti-gay attacks so far in 2013, a sharp 77 percent increase from 13 such assaults in the same time period last year.
Gay-rights group Chutney Pride and other community groups are planning an anti-violence rally from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, in front of Players Bar and Restaurant, 129-06 Liberty Ave., Richmond Hill.
“People need to understand this is not right," Amin said. "I’m not asking you to accept it or to be for gay rights — but have respect. Understand that these are human beings just like you.”
Manager at Players Bar and Restaurant were unavailable for comment on Tuesday afternoon.