Police arrest second suspect in NYC anti-gay attack

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Wednesday October 14, 2009

Police have arrested the second man who allegedly beat a Queens resident early Friday morning because he is gay.

Norfolk, Va., police officers and U.S. Marshals took Daniel Rodriguez, 21, into custody last night at a relative's home. Both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn praised the arrest in a statement.

"Hate crimes like this one are particularly distasteful and won't be tolerated in our city," Bloomberg said.

"Hate crimes like this one are particularly distasteful and won't be tolerated in our city."

Daniel Aleman, 26, and Rodriguez allegedly beat Jack Price, 49, around 3 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, outside a College Point deli. The two men reportedly taunted Price, who remains in a medically induced coma at Booth Memorial Hospital, before they chased him and eventually beat him in the street. WPIX broadcast a surveillance video last night that captured the attack.

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 on Monday, but 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.

Local activists continue to plan a possible vigil and rally against anti-LGBT hate and bias crimes.

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.