Suspect in Bias Attack Says He's Gay Too

By SHIMON PROKUPECZ
|  Saturday, Apr 2, 2011  |  Updated 3:50 PM EDT
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Damian Furtch

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Police have arrested a homeless man in connection with the beating of a young gay man outside a West Village McDonalds, police said Saturday.

Anthony Bray, 21, has been charged with misdemeanor assault and not with a hate crime in connection with the 4:30 a.m. attack on Damian Furtch last Sunday, DCPI said.

Bray told police the attack wasn't a hate crime because he's gay too.  He told police that the victim "disrespected" him.

Police were able to arrest Bray after contacting him in Brooklyn where he surrendered to them.

"It may come down to just two guys having a fistfight,” one police source told the New York Post.

Sources have said the victim was not overly cooperative with investigators early on.  A second man who was present for the assault is not expected to be charged, sources said.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Furtch said he was pleased a suspect had been arrested but did not believe that claims that his attacker is also gay negates the brutality.

"The fact that the attacker in custody alleges he is gay does not change that fact that he shouted anti-gay slurs while attacking me," he said in a statement.

In the days after his assault, Furtch said the situation had been traumatic. "This has to stop. Under no circumstance should a person be attacked for their sexual orientation," he said.

The incident happened after Furtch finished work at the Pink Tea Cup Restaurant in the West Village.

Furtch said he had stepped outside the McDonald's when he was hit on the side of his face, forcing him to stumble.

"Then I felt three punches to the face," Furtch said.

After the attack, Furtch said he stumbled back into the McDonald's and told his friend they needed to go to the hospital because he had been assaulted. The friends rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, where Furtch says he received medical attention. 

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