Teen punched in the face by homophobe who shouted ‘I hate gay people’ in ‘downright disturbing’ attack

Andrew Cuomo

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has instructed police to investigate a man who punched a teenager in the face while shouting “I hate gay people”.

The “cowardly” attack allegedly occurred on the M23 bus in Chelsea, Manhattan on 22 November. The 19-year-old victim was riding on the bus when he was confronted by an aggressive older man, who started harassing him.

“You have long hair. I don’t like people like you,” the man allegedly said, with his facemask lowered over his chin. He then grew explicitly homophobic, adding: “I hate gay people”.

When the teem got off the bus the man pursued him and punched him in the face, the NYPD said. The attacker then got back on the bus and rode away.

His victim was left with bruising to his head, but declined medical aid.

Cuomo addressed the “downright disturbing” incident in a statement on Tuesday (22 December) as police released CCTV footage of the attacker.

“This violent attack, which targeted a teenager as they were exiting the bus, is repugnant to everything we stand for in New York,” he said.

“I am directing the New York State Police hate crimes task force to immediately offer assistance investigating this cowardly act.

“Make no mistake: we do not tolerate bias attacks in the Empire State, and we will always defend New Yorkers who are targeted for being who they are.”

Craig Cipriano, MTA’s head of buses, said that “hate crimes are repugnant to the values of the MTA, our riders and all New Yorkers”.

He added: “We are cooperating with the NYPD and State Police investigations and appreciate their diligent efforts to bring this perpetrator to justice.”

The NYPD is asking for help in tracking down the man in the video. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477.