The 19-year-old accused of beating a gay man in Manhattan over the weekend was released without bail yesterday. And his victim says, "I am more of a man than he ever will be because I did not throw the punch."
Manuel Riquelme was part of a group that allegedly yelled anti-gay slurs at LGBT activist Eugene Lovendusky and his friends after 3 a.m. on Saturday. Lovendusky's group had been heading to the subway, but a group of teens turned their confrontation physical. Lovendusky told NBC New York, "I got a punch in the face, and my glasses flew off."
They called 911 and Lovendusky was able to identify his attacker later (Riquelme was found in a pizzeria). Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "We believe these kinds of biased crimes are underreported. Now it's being reported, and we think that it is a good thing." Riquelme was arrested for assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime.
Lovendusky said, "I'm not scared. These are my streets just as much as it is theirs... If you're battling your own personal homophobia, then seek understanding through conversation and education, don't turn to violence." He told DNAinfo, "We need to open a conversation with the straight ally community. It's the only way we're going to win this fight. We need people to speak up."