Man charged with hate crime after knocking two gay men unconscious in Brooklyn

New York Police have arrested a man accused of knocking two gay men unconscious in a homophobic attack that took place in Brooklyn on Sunday (September 23).

Authorities have charged the suspect, 25-year-old Brandon McNamara, with assault as a hate crime, two counts of assault, aggravated harassment as a hate crime and harassment as a hate crime in the first and second degrees, according to the New York Post.

McNamara, a consultant with the accounting firm Ernst and Young (EY) from Queens, surrendered himself to the police station around 8am on Wednesday. He gave no statement to the police and has no previous criminal record, CBS New York reported.

NYPD car

A police car is parked at a crime scene where three people were shot on June 10, 2015 in the Gowanus area of the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Police released an image of the suspect after the attack left a 34-year-old with a fractured shoulder and a 29-year-old with a fractured finger. According to investigators, McNamara first approached the two men making anti-gay comments and then attacked them, punching the 34-year-old and throwing the 29-year-old against a tree. The two victims received treatment in hospital for their injuries.

The attack took place in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn on Metropolitan Avenue, a street crowded with bars and eateries, including the nearby Metropolitan gay bar.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea credited cooperation with the community as he shared news of the arrest on Twitter on Wednesday.

“In partnership with the community, an arrest has been made in the 9-23-18 Hate Crime assault in Brooklyn in which a gay couple was brutally attacked,” he wrote.

A video uploaded by New York news station PIX11 reporter Henry Rosoff shows the suspect exiting the police station, being led away in handcuffs, giving no answer to journalists’ questions.

McNamara has been suspended from his job pending the active investigation. “The alleged conduct is abhorrent to all EY stands for including our culture of diversity and inclusion,” an EY spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News.

Hate crimes in the US against LGBT+ people have been on the increase in the past few years, according to FBI data. 17 percent of all hate crime victims in 2016 were targeted because of their sexual orientation.

Producer and director Ryan Murphy dedicated his recent Emmy win for Netflix’s limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story to victims of LGBT+ hate crime.

In his acceptance speech for the Best Limited Series or TV Movie Award, Murphy said: “One of out of every four LGBTQ people in this country will be the victim of a hate crime. We dedicate this award to them, to awareness, to stricter hate crime laws, and mostly, this is for the memory of Jeff and David and Gianni and for all of those taken too soon.”