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A Queens grand jury has indicted two men who are accused of taking part in the brutal beating of a 49-year-old openly gay man in College Point last fall, the Queens district attorney said.
Daniel Rodriguez, 21, of 502 115th St., and Daniel Aleman, 26, of 18-04 College Point Blvd., both of whom are from College Point, have been charged in a 14-count indictment after they allegedly attacked Jack Price around 4:30 a.m. Oct. 8 as he walked home after picking up cigarettes at a 24-hour deli on College Point Boulevard at 18th Avenue, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
The two men were charged with multiple counts of assault as a hate crime, assault, robbery as a hate crime, tampering with physical evidence as well as robbery and criminal possession of stolen property, Brown said. The indictment was filed at the State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens last Thursday.
If convicted, the pair faces up to 25 years in prison.
“Acts of violence motivated by hate or intolerance violate the fundamental principles and spirit of equality and freedom on which our country was founded,” the DA said. “When such crimes regrettably do occur — especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation — they will be condemned in the strongest possible terms and those responsible will be brought to justice to answer for their actions.”
At the time of the attack, the defendants allegedly approached Price inside a local deli and made anti-gay remarks, followed him down the street as he walked home and began repeatedly kicking, punching and stomping him after they knocked him to the ground, Brown said. Price was treated at Flushing’s New York Hospital Queens for two collapsed lungs, a broken jaw and ribs as well as a lacerated spleen.
The alleged assailants were also accused of going through Price’s pockets, stealing his wallet and cash.
Rodriguez was arrested on Oct. 13 after police caught up with him in Norfolk, Va. Both defendants are being held without bail.
In late October, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who is openly gay, joined numerous Queens community activists and elected officials for a massive rally in College Point in support of Price and his family.
A small group of supporters for the defendants, who claimed the attack was not a hate crime, gathered across the street from the rally and wore stickers that read “Free Danny Rodriguez.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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