A one Anthony Bray, 21, has been arrested for the early morning gay bashing of Damian Furtch last weekend outside a West Village McDonald’s in Manhattan. But while Bray has admitted to the brutal assault (video here), he insists it wasn’t a gay bashing. Because he’s gay too.
Can a gay man gay bash another gay man? If there’s enough self-hatred, sure. But it’ll be up to prosecutors to show that Furtch was targeted specifically because of his sexuality; the sexuality of the attacker, then, should be irrelevant, since hate crimes focus only about the actual or perceived sexuality of the victim.
Bray, who is homeless, was picked up in Brooklyn after an anonymous tip fingered him in the attack, and his family helped arrange his surrender. Thus far he’s been charged only with charged with misdemeanor assault, but there’s the possibility of attaching hate crime charges. (Except, says a “police source,” it’s possible “it may come down to just two guys having a fistfight.”)
Meanwhile, where is the second man who is seen on camera joining Bray in the attack? And will he also claim his sexuality precludes him from committing hate crimes against gays? Police say they’re searching for him.
So what set off the attack? Bray, whose rap sheet includes marijuana, graffiti and robbery busts, says Furtch “disrespected” him inside the McDonald’s. As Furtch has told it, he and a friend were the ones targeted by a group of men, and he left the restaurant to ease the tension. That’s when he was pummeled and called a “fucking faggot.”
Those words alone, one would think, would be enough to show Bray’s animus was motivated by perceived sexuality. But if Bray gets a skilled defense attorney, the argument will certainly be made that one “fucking faggot” cannot commit a hate crime against another.