NYC man remains in coma after brutal gay bashing

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Tuesday October 13, 2009

A Queens man remains in serious but stable condition after two men brutally beat him early Friday morning outside a local convenience store because he is gay.

Daniel Aleman, 26, and Daniel Rodriguez, 21, allegedly beat Jack Price, 49, around 3 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, after he went to a College Point corner store to buy a pack of cigarettes. The two men reportedly taunted Price, who remains in a medical induced coma at Booth Memorial Hospital, before they chased him and eventually beat him.

"To do this as a human being, no matter what their sexuality is, is a disgrace," Price's sister-in-law Joanne Guarneri told WABC. "Both his lungs are collapsed. All his ribs are broken, his spleen had surgery, and he had to get a metal plate put in his jaw."

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, state Sen. Tom Duane [D-Chelsea,] City Councilmember John Liu [D-Flushing] and openly gay City Council candidates Danny Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer were among those who denounced the attack at a press conference outside the hospital yesterday afternoon.

"To do this as a human being, no matter what their sexuality is, is a disgrace."

"When someone is attacked for being who they are, and for being proud of who they are, there is no other explanation for that attack than hatred and bigotry," Quinn said. "In response, we will do all in our power as individuals, as a community and as a city to ensure that whoever commits such a vile act of hate is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The attack against Price is the latest in a series of anti-LGBT hate and bias crimes that have rocked Queens in recent months.

Trinidad Tapia and Gilberto Ortiz allegedly beat Leslie Morak with a belt buckle as she walked home from a Jackson Heights nightclub in June. And Nathaniel Mims and Rasheed Thomas face hate crimes charges after they allegedly attacked Carmella Etienne with rocks and empty beer bottles on July 8 as she walked home from a store near her St. Albans apartment.

The New York City Anti-Violence Project concluded in a report issued in July the severity of anti-LGBT violence in the five boroughs has increased. Those who spoke at the press conference outside the hospital added they feel the attack, which came less than three days before more than 1,400 New Yorkers took part in the National Equality March in Washington, shows anti-LGBT hate crimes and bias attacks remains a serious problem.

"This tragic and senseless incident is yet another reminder of how far we have to go towards making our city one that is free of hatred and violence at all times and for all people," Van Bramer concluded.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.