At a press conference at police headquarters in Mineola on Nov. 5, county detectives said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Lakeview resident Robert Bellamy, 23, of Woodfield Road, was arrested on Nov. 4 in connection with the incident, and police are still looking for the other two male suspects.
The attack took place in the early morning hours after Halloween, and county Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said that could have been the reason why one of the victims was dressed in womens clothes. According to police, the two victims were approached by a green Nissan with a female driver and three male passengers while they were walking on Woodfield Road at around 1:50 a.m., and the three males got out of the car and surrounded them.
Then, police said, Bellamy punched one of the victims in the face while the two other suspects punched the second victim in his head and face, which caused him to fall to the ground. The two assailants who are still at large then went through the second victims pockets and stole $7 while kicking him in the stomach, according to police, before the suspects fled the scene on foot.
Police learned that the suspects had approached the victim who was dressed in womens clothes earlier, in a convenience store at a Sunoco gas station in Lakeview, and shouted an anti-gay slur at him. "They also began to harass him ... verbally and physically by pushing him," Mulvey said. "They perceived him to be a homosexual."
Buffalo The phones have been ringing at the Pride Center of Western New York.
"A lot of concern about what is happening in the community," said Jorien Brock of the Pride Center.
This after what police say happened on New Years Eve.
"We had a bunch of individuals who targeted a man they believed to be gay. They went after him for that reason and that reason only," said Cheektowaga Police Captian James Spyer.
Police say it began inside the Walden Galleria, that a group of people who may have been in a local gang followed the victim through the mall, threatened him, and followed him outside to the parking lot. Police say two female attackers hit him with pepper spray, punched and kicked him, stole a bag with a thousand dollars of property in it, and left a note on his car with slurs about being gay. Security got a call about a fight and alerted cheektowaga police. They quickly found 18 year old Joy Darden and 19 year old Deonna Burnett. They face hate crime charges, as well grand larceny and criminal harrassment
"If you come into the Town of Cheektowaga we are going to make sure you treat everybody with respect, and if you don't, you will be arrested," added Spyer.
A message that is well received at the Pride Center, where they say they have gotten calls about other incidents too.
"Whether it is based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, it has to be clear that hate is not okay, and violence is not okay," added Brock.
The victim is 20 years old, and did not suffer serious injuries.