Friday, May 15, 2009

Possible hate crime rocks West Village

With gay pride festivities a little more than a month away, the news a group of teenagers viciously beat a man on Seventh Avenue near Christopher Street early yesterday morning has rocked the West Village.

The Daily News reported four young men blocked Alan Williams, 50, from entering a cab outside of Cafe Riviera on Seventh Avenue around 2 a.m. The men proceeded to viciously beat Williams in the head before they fled. The Daily News and other news outlets have reported Williams, who is an accountant from Buffalo, remains in extremely critical condition at St. Vincent's Hospital.

The New York City Anti-Violence Project has said the New York Police Department's Hate Crimes unit continues to investigate whether the perpetrators attacked Williams because he is gay. His friends have confirmed his sexual orientation to the Daily News. And Williams reportedly had a Gay Men's Health Crisis card in his pocket.

“Any violent assault of this kind is a terrible tragedy," AVP executive director Sharon Stapel said.

This attack comes roughly six months after Hakeem Scott and Keith Phoenix allegedly beat Ecuadorian immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay to death as he and his brother walked home arm and arm from a Bushwick bar. And the vicious attack against Williams is yet another reminder hate and bias-crimes remain a serious problem in the city.

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