New York ‘hate crime’ suspect says he is also gay

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A suspect accused of a homophobic attack on a New York gay man has denied that the attack was motivated by hate and claims that he is gay too.

Anthony Bray, 21, who is homeless, handed himself to police after he was identified by a witness to last week’s incident in a McDonald’s restaurant.

The victim, 26-year-old Damian Furtch, was sitting in the restaurant with a friend and claims that two men began shouting anti-gay abuse at him before following him outside.

He said that the pair then began punching him while yelling anti-gay slurs. His friend was not hurt.
Mr Furtch reported the attack to police and posted disturbing images on his Facebook page showing severe cuts and bruising to his face.

According to the New York Daily News, Mr Bray claims he attacked Mr Furtch “because he was disrespectful to him”, a source said.

Mr Bray has been charged with misdemeanor assault and police sources told the newspaper that hate crime charges were unlikely.

In a statement, Mr Furtch said: “The fact that the attacker in custody alleges he is gay does not change the fact that he shouted anti-gay slurs while attacking me.

“I look forward to the criminal trial where all of the accurate details will come out.”

He said that the suspects attacked him because of his brightly-coloured clothing.

Police are still looking for a second suspect.