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A second man has been charged with a hate crime in last week’s brutal beating of a 49-year-old openly gay man from College Point after police caught up with him in Virginia, the Queens district attorney said.
Daniel Rodriguez, 21, of 5-02 115th St. in College Point, was arrested late in the evening on Oct. 13 in Norfolk, Virginia, where he fled after his alleged participation in the beating of Jack Price, who has been listed in “fair condition” at Flushing’s New York Hospital Queens and has been treated for a fractured jaw and ribs as well as a lacerated spleen, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
Rodriguez, who waived extradition to New York, was arraigned last Thursday in Queens on assault as a hate crime and robbery as a hate crime, the DA said. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
“[Rodriguez] faces serious charges in connection with this senseless attack,” the DA said. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated in Queens County. When they do, regrettably, occur, they will be aggressively investigated, vigorously prosecuted and severely punished.”
Daniel Aleman, 26, of 18-04 College Point Boulevard, was arraigned Oct. 11 on the same charges in the beating and held on a $20,000 cash bail, Brown said. The defendant, who could face up to 15 years in prison, will return to court on Oct. 29.
Price, who is openly gay, was attacked around 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 8 as he walked home from picking up cigarettes at a 24-hour deli on College Point Boulevard at 18th Avenue, Brown said. The defendants approached him and allegedly began making anti-gay remarks before repeatedly punching, kicking and stomping him, the DA said.
A camera at the deli caught the beating on tape, during which Price can be seen on the ground in the middle of the street as two men punch and kick him. Dan Halloran, who is chairman of the state Republican Liberty Caucus, said the camera had been placed at the store by the College Point Board of Trade and that there has been a history of fights near that site.
“It’s a blight on this neighborhood,” he said. “There have been numerous scuffles in the past.”
Price’s friends and neighbors described him as a friendly man who went out of his way to assist people in the community. He acted as a superintendent for several buildings in the neighborhood.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who is openly gay, joined Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) and a number of Queens community activists outside of New York Hospital Queens last week for a press conference at which they denounced the attack.
A number of Queens elected officials have called on the DA to push for the maximum punishment for the defendants.
“I am extremely disturbed after hearing the reports and seeing the footage of this inexcusable and vicious attack,” Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said. “It is beyond deplorable that the two individuals arrested for this attack would inflict harm to Mr. Price because of his sexual orientation.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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