Monday, September 28, 2009

From the Office of Speaker Quinn: Anti-gay attack in Hell's Kitchen

As a media contact for the office of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, I'm passing along the following release from this morning.

Statement by Speaker Christine C. Quinn

Re: Reports of Anti-gay attack in Hell's Kitchen

Early Saturday morning there was a report of an anti-LGBT attack in Hell's Kitchen in which two individuals were the victims of a physical assault.  I am obviously outraged by news that another bias attack has occurred in our city.  But I am also deeply concerned by reports from the victims that NYPD officers responding to the scene did not appropriately recognize the seriousness of the incident.  In fact, it has been reported that they failed to attempt to apprehend or even to collect contact information from the alleged assailant.  If these reports are true, the behavior of the police officers involved was also outrageous and merits swift action by the police department.

In response I have spoken to Police Commissioner Kelly's office. They have agreed to conduct an investigation of these reports, and to have police officials meet personally with the victims this week.  I am very gratified that the police department has agreed to my requests, and urge them to complete a swift and thorough investigation.

One of the most significant tools that have helped us to combat hate crimes here in New York City is having a strong police response to incidents when they occur.  There was a time in our city when victims of hate crimes did not feel that the police were their allies.  Any time a crime of this nature occurs, victims need to know they will be taken seriously.

To their credit, the NYPD have demonstrated that they normally respond aggressively and appropriately to such crimes.  But even one such failure can begin to undermine all of our collaborative and historic efforts.  In addition, every victim deserves to have their incident taken as seriously as any other.   I will continue to work with advocates and the NYPD to increase and expand training when needed, so police officers have the tools they need to respond appropriately to bias attacks.

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