CHELSEA — A man caught on video striking two gay men with a wooden chair inside a Dallas BBQ on Eighth Avenue last year was found guilty of assault in the attack, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.
A jury found Bronx resident Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin, 42, guilty of two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree attempted assault Wednesday in connection with the attack, which took place at the 261 Eighth Ave. eatery, at the corner of West 23rd Street, on May 5 of last year, the DA’s office said.
“There was no justification for this brutal attack," DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. “Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin struck both victims in a public restaurant with a heavy wooden chair, knocking one of them unconscious.
“I commend the victims for their courage and my office’s prosecutors for ensuring this defendant is held accountable for this horrific attack,” he added.
El-Amin turned himself in to police last June, about a month after the argument between him and gay couple Jonathan Snipes, then 32, and Ethan York-Adams, then 25, escalated into a fight at the restaurant.
A cellphone video of the brawl went viral last year.
Snipes told investigators that El-Amin used a homophobic slur before smashing a chair over their heads and stomping on Snipes' head.
El-Amin was not charged with a hate crime and was acquitted of an assault count related to the head-stomping allegation, the DA's office said.
York-Adams was knocked unconscious in the attack, and Snipes collapsed onto a chair inside the restaurant, the DA's office said Wednesday.
“As a result of the attack, the victims suffered substantial head, back and neck pain, as well as cuts, bruising and swelling,” the DA’s office added.
El-Amin’s lawyer at the time, Raoul Zaltzberg, maintained last year that El-Amin himself was a gay activist and that the chair smashing had been provoked by an earlier attack.
He is currently being held at the George R. Vierno Center and is expected to be sentenced on June 14, according to Department of Correction records and the DA’s office.
He could face between five and 15 years in state prison on the top charge if convicted, the DA's office said.
El Amin's lawyer, Percy Diego Gayanilo, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.