BUSHWICK — A transgender woman was brutally attacked by a group of men yelling anti-gay slurs last week in what is being investigated as a hate crime, police said.
The victim, 28, was knocked unconscious by a Plexiglas board that was hurled at her by the four suspects on a street corner late Sunday night, the NYPD said. She also suffered a fractured eye socket, internal bleeding, and cuts to her head and face, police said.
The victim was walking down Bushwick Avenue near Halsey Street with another person about 11:20 p.m. when they saw four men who started making loud, anti-gay comments and began to follow them, according to the NYPD.
The victim and the group of men started arguing, with the men yelling the slurs and questioning why the victim and friend were on the block, police said.
One of the men then threw a Plexiglas board at the victim, striking her in the head and knocking her to the sidewalk while the others punched and kicked her, police said. The men then fled the scene.
The NYPD's Hate Crimes unit is investigating.
Police released video of the suspects taken from a bodega near the scene of the attack.
One of them wore a gray sleeveless sweatshirt emblazoned with the word "Freedom." He also had a ski cap, gray sweatpants and white sneakers, police said.
Another suspect wore a blue Nike hoodie with matching sweatpants, police said.
Gay City News first reported the incident.
The victim has been using services at the LGBT youth homeless organization New Alternatives for years now, said the organization's executive director, Kate Barnhart. She came to New York from Utah in the early 2000s and now lives in Brooklyn working as a freelance illustrator, Barnhart said.
The victim and her friend, a gay man who witnessed the attack, were on their way to visit a friend at the time, she added.
The friend who was with the victim said she suffered brain swelling and that she could have permanent brain damage as a result, Barnhart said.
"It’s pretty disturbing in New York Ciy, where you think of as such a safe place for LGBT folk, that things like this can still happen," she said. "I’ve lived in Brooklyn all my life; you want to think that you’re safe."
The alleged anti-gay attack is the second to happen in the neighborhood in the last month.
At the end of September, three men were charged with shooting a victim in the buttocks while yelling anti-gay slurs like "tranny" and "f----ts," according to police and court documents.
New Alternatives is working with the Anti-Violence Project to shed light on the issue. On Friday, Bushwick-based LGBTQ group GLOBE will be hosting a community discussion on anti-LGBT violence in the neighborhood.