Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out Tuesday following a wave of alleged anti-gay hate crimes that have stirred outrage in neighborhoods across the city.
“New York City has zero tolerance for intolerance,” he told reporters at a press conference with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at police headquarters.
Mr. Kelly said that, over the past 24 hours, police have received reports of two additional bias attacks: At approximately 10:45 p.m. Monday, he said an assailant allegedly “just snapped, became enraged” and began shouting anti-gay expletives and beating a man he’s been drinking with near the Bowery Mission. Approximately seven hours later, a couple walking north near Prince Street was also attacked, he said.
The incidents are just the latest in a string of recent attacks–including the shooting death last Friday of a young named Mark Carson in the West Village.
“It was a cold-blooded hate crime that cut short a life full of promise, and brought back awful memories for people who were once afraid to walk down the street with the person that they loved,” the mayor said of the killing. “Thankfully, we have come a long way from those days–but the murder of Mark Carson is a tragic reminder of how far we still have to go.”
He said the city is “a place that celebrates diversity–a place where people from around the world come to live free of prejudice and persecution. Hate crimes like these are an offense against all we stand for as a city–and we will do everything possible to stop them,” he said, urging parents and teachers to “spread tolerance” and asking members of the LGBT community to report any crimes–as the city beefs up patrols.
Mr. Kelly noted that, while hate crimes are down almost 30 percent this year overall, anti-gay crimes have spiked significantly, with 29 attacks so far this year, versus 14 last year.
Mr. Bloomberg vowed to do everything necessary to try to stave off more attacks and warned would-be assailants to be on alert:
“You’re going to wind up in jail for a very long time. Period. We’re gonna find you,” he said, noting: “Jail’s not a nice place.”
He added: “It’s not a good day for New York.”