Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Suspect in Brutal Chair Attack Inside Manhattan Restaurant Convicted

WARNING: Some may find the video featured in this story graphic

Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin copy

A New York City man captured on video smashing a wooden chair over the heads of two men inside a Dallas BBQ restaurant last year has been convicted in the attack, prosecutors say.

A state Supreme Court jury found Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin of the Bronx guilty of first-degree attempted assault and second-degree assault, the Manhattan district attorney's office said Wednesday. 

Video of the May 2015 attack inside Dallas BBQ in Chelsea shows El-Amin flinging a chair over his head, then smashing it on the skulls of two men he had gotten into an argument with. Horrified bystanders scream as he walks calmly out the door. 

The attack was so brutal that bystanders said they were afraid to confront the assailant. 

"He had just stomped on someone's head and hit someone on the head with a hard chair," the man who put the video on YouTube told NBC 4 New York at the time. "The last thing anyone wanted to do was get involved." 

Prosecutors said the 25-year-old victim was knocked unconscious and the 32-year-old victim collapsed onto a nearby chair. Both men suffered head, back and neck pain. 

El-Amin turned himself in to police about a month after the attack.

The victims, who are gay, told media outlets at the time that El-Amin, who has also identified himself as gay, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at them. El-Amin's lawyer previously said his client was attacked first. 

But District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a press release announcing the verdict, "There was no justification for this brutal attack." 

El-Amin is expected to be sentenced June 14. 

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