Hate Crime

Gay man brutally punched while filming TikTok video; police searching for attacker

New York police are searching for an unidentified suspect in an attack on a gay man as he recorded a TikTok video last weekend.

The footage, according to ABC News New York, shows a gay man and his friend in the middle of making a video together for TikTok. The pair were filming the video in lower Manhattan on Saturday (Sept 26) night. Out of nowhere, a male suspect walks up and punches the gay man in the face. His friend tries to intervene, holding the suspect back. The attacker strikes the victim again, this time in the back of the head, sending him reeling off camera.

Related: Man says Trump gave him ‘permission’ to voice hatred for LGBTQ community in church

According to the victim and his friend–who have not been publicly identified to protect their privacy–the attacker also yelled anti-gay slurs as he struck. He then fled on foot to whereabouts unknown.

The gay man victimized in this beating suffered a bloody nose and lacerations to his lip. He declined medical treatment after the attack.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force has launched a full investigation into the attack, and has sent out a public appeal in hopes of identifying the suspect in this case. Video footage and eyewitness accounts describe him as male, white, with blond hair, 5’9″ to 5’10”, 200lbs. At the time of the incident, he wore a white long-sleeved shirt, black shorts and black sneakers.

The incident in question is just the latest in a series of physical attacks on LGBTQ people, which have spiked during Donald Trump‘s first term as president. The New York Times reported last year that hate crimes hit a 16-year high, in particular physical attacks directed toward African-Americans, immigrants and queer folk. This year alone has seen more than a dozen transgender women–mostly women of color–murdered.