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Like most College Point residents, we are stunned by the beating of an openly gay man in the early morning hours. Jack Price, 42, was nearly beaten to death at 4:30 a.m. near the intersection of 18th Avenue and College Point Boulevard.
The video taken by a camera set up to catch graffiti vandals is shocking. The attackers broke Price’s ribs, causing both lungs to collapse. They left him to die.
Price said his attackers were shouting anti-gay comments as they kicked and punched him. For that reason police are treating this as a hate crime. Police response was aggressive. Daniel Aleman, 26, who lives nearby, was arrested within hours. The other suspect, Daniel Rodriguez, 21, was arrested days later at a relative’s home in Norfolk, Va.
In response to the attack, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is gay, and Councilman John Liu were joined by leaders from the city’s gay community at a press conference outside Booth Memorial.
“When someone is attacked for being who they are, and for being proud of who they are, there is no other explanation for that attack than hatred and bigotry,” said Quinn.
Daniel Dromm, a gay activist from Jackson Heights, said, “Once again, in Queens, a gay man has been brutally beaten simply because of who he is. This is deplorable. All righteous people ... must speak out loudly against hate crimes ....”
While we agree the attack was deplorable, the fact that this was only the fourth time in 19 years that a gay man was beaten in Queens shows this was an isolated incident. Once is one time too many, but there is not a pattern of anti-gay violence in Queens.
Dromm and Quinn should take comfort from the outrage coming from the community. There is no tolerance for anti-gay violence.
If the police have caught the attackers, we would be interested in learning what led to this violence. We want to know why two men would engage in such violence against a man who had done them no harm.
The attack is disturbing because College Point is a mostly safe place. Hopefully, the response coming from every corner of the borough will make other bigots or thugs think twice before creating new victims.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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