Joseph Holladay didn't get a chance to march in the city's annual Gay Pride parade on Sunday because he was brutally beaten by a gang of young men on the Upper East Side just hours before the celebration was set to start. Cops are investigating the crime as an anti-gay bias attack.
Holladay, a former sales rep for the Village Voice, walked out of a friend's apartment on E. 85th Street at about 4 a.m. Saturday to smoke a cigarette. Suddenly, about five or six people came out of the shadows and mauled him, he told The Village Voice.
The victim's friend -- an acting coach named John Jerome -- found Holladay bleeding from a thick v-shaped gash in his forehead, lying unmoving in the street. Jerome thought he was dead. Holladay was taken to the hospital – the memory of what happened on the street a blur other than the slur uttered by his attackers.
A group of witnesses confirm gay epithets were slung at Holladay during the vicious beating. Jerome's building neighbors told cops they saw a handful of young white guys "with crew cuts, wearing wife-beaters" loitering in the street smoking pot prior to the beating, according to the Voice. The noise of the attack lured them to the window, where they heard gay slurs spewing from the mouths of the assailants. Then the men drove off.
The witnesses were able to identify the vehicle the aggressors peeled off in – an old gold Subaru – Holladay told the Voice, which lends hope to police investigating the attack. The 36-year-old Boston resident, who is recovering at his friend Jerome's house, said his doctor told him it appeared he was struck by a blunt instrument – possibly the base of a gun – before everything went black.
In the last few days, Holladay and Jerome have gone to police to follow up on the investigation's progress. Cops have determined that Holladay's beating was a hate crime, and the case has been tossed to detectives, the Voice reports.
Yet Holladay has been frustrated by the lack of answers he's gotten so far. And he's not the only one.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was quick to denounce the beating.
"This is not simply a hate crime that just affected one victim, this is a hate crime that impacts the entire LGBT community," Quinn said in a statement. "Hate of any kind is unacceptable and unwarranted in our city. We are a city that does not take these acts lightly."
The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force has taken up the case – and Quinn vowed to collaborate with the city's Anti-Violence Project, the NYPD's LGBT liaison to find the perpetrators and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
"Those who committed this heinous act will be brought to justice," she said.
State Sen. Thomas Duane, to whom Holladay reached out for support, also publicly denounced the attack.
"Hate and prejudice of any kind are unacceptable in New York City or anywhere and there is a heightened injustice that this apparently anti-gay incident occurred during Pride Week," he said.
Anyone who may have witnessed the beating is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS.