A man has been found guilty of attacking a gay couple at a Dallas BBQ in a widely-publicized incident that occurred a year ago in Chelsea. Bayna Lekheim El-Amin, 42, was convicted of attempted assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree in the fight with Jonathan Snipes and his boyfriend Ethan York-Adams.
"There was no justification for this brutal attack," said District Attorney Cy Vance in a statement. "Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin struck both victims in a public restaurant with a heavy wooden chair, knocking one of them unconscious. I commend the victims for their courage and my Office’s prosecutors for ensuring this defendant is held accountable for this horrific attack."
The incident occurred around 11 p.m. on May 5th, 2015, when Snipes and York-Adams were dining at the Dallas BBQ at West 23rd Street and 8th Avenue, and the two men got into an argument with El-Amin as they were preparing to exit the restaurant. Snipes claimed that he had knocked over his fishbowl margarita drink, and overheard El-Amin say he was "a white faggot spilling drinks." Snipes confronted him, admitting to hitting him with his "light purse."
"I was forceful, I was angry, I was definitely intoxicated, but I wanted to know why they thought they could say these things," Snipes testified.
El-Amin retaliated by hitting Snipes over the head with a wooden chair, then repeatedly hit him while he was on the ground. That part of the incident was captured on video that was widely circulated on the internet last year.
York-Adams was knocked unconscious during the attack, and Snipes collapsed onto a nearby chair. As a result of the attack, the victims suffered substantial head, back, and neck pain, as well as cuts, bruising, and swelling.
El-Amin's lawyer unsuccessfully argued that his client, who is also gay, was acting in self-defense. Prosecutors said El-Amin attacked out of rage: "The defendant was angry, he was humiliated, and he wasn’t about to let these girly men get the last word," said ADA Leah Saxtein.
El-Amin now faces up to 15 years in prison for the incident.