Indictment In Anti-Gay Burger King Beating

A Hudson County grand jury drew up an indictment against two Burger King employees accused of an anti-gay hate crime.

Garden State Equality chairman Steven Goldstein provides the details, after the jump…

A grand jury in Hudson County has just handed down an indictment of two men, then employees of the Burger King on 3501 Bergenline Avenue in Union City, charging that the employees committed a vicious anti-gay beating of a same-sex male couple on July 22, 2007.

The indictment, State of New Jersey v. Angel Caraballo and Christopher Soto, charges the employees in six counts, the most serious being a first-degree hate crime. The other counts include second- and third-degree aggravated assault.

When the couple asked for a refund for a menu item that the counter person discovered was not available, another counter person then asked who wanted the refund – “The faggots over there?”

The couple left the restaurant. A group of Burger King employees followed them to a side street and beat them mercilessly, though not fatally.

The employees made repeated anti-gay slurs during the beating.

Garden State Equality has also learned that the defendants were named in a police report for an alleged stabbing in November 2006, though the charges emanating from that police report were ultimately dismissed.

“Even in New Jersey, arguably the most progressive state in the country, a state we call the state that doesn’t hate, too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people live in fear,” said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality.

“Part of the problem is the law,” said Goldstein, “for even though New Jersey’s hate crimes law is one of the oldest in the country, it’s now been surpassed in its scope,” said Goldstein. “We expect that state legislators, with whom Garden State Equality has been working closely, will shortly introduce a bill to remedy the problem.”

Walt Boraczek, co-chair of Hudson Diversity Action Council, said: “Hudson Diversity Action Council is shocked that a tragedy such as this could happen in Hudson County, where the embrace of diverse communities has always been a hallmark of what makes our county great.”

“We look forward to working with the people of Union City and across Hudson County,” Boraczek said, “to demonstrate that we won’t tolerate this type of criminal behavior.”

Garden State Equality and Hudson Diversity Action Council will hold a rally against hate next Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 6:00 pm, Pride Connections Center of New Jersey, 32 Jones Street, Jersey City.