NEW YORK-- A man who was attacked in a suspected hate crime and hit by a car while trying to escape died after his family decided to take him off life support, officials said.
Michael Sandy, 28, died Friday. He had been in critical condition at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center after running into traffic on the Belt Parkway on Sunday evening. Three young men have been charged with hate crimes in the assault and robbery of Sandy, a gay man investigators believed was lured to a Brooklyn street corner with the online promise of a sexual encounter. Gary Timmins, 16, John Fox, 19, and Ilya Shurov, 20, were all being held without bail after being arraigned earlier this week. According to a police commander who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday, one of four men questioned by police had met the victim and convinced him to drive to an isolated parking lot near Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn where a group was waiting. The confrontation eventually spilled onto the busy parkway, where the victim was hit by a vehicle. The men questioned said they were heterosexual and indicated they had in the past used the Internet to lure and attack gay men, the official said. Police were also searching for the vehicle that hit Sandy. The driver did not stop at the scene.
The crime has outraged many, including Christine Quinn, the city's first openly gay council member and speaker.
"I join all New Yorkers in condemning this hateful and horrific crime," Quinn said in a statement. "Michael Sandy's death is a tragic reminder that we must continue to work hard to make intolerance and discrimination unacceptable in our City."
It's not clear if Brooklyn prosecutors will file murder charges against the three young men. A message left with the district attorney's office was not immediately returned. Quinn said she expects "the district attorney's office to act aggressively and expeditiously to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the New York State Hate Crimes and other relevant laws."
Black LGBT organizers and activists vowed to hold a rally on Monday to demand an end to hate violence in the city and to hold city leaders accountable. The rally is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. on Monday at New York City Hall. The rally is being sponsored by People of Color In Crisis, the New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent, the New York City Anti-Violence Project and the National Black Justice Coalition.
Personally, I am outraged by this incident that seems to be happening much too often with too little noise from the BLACK community. I maintain that if the victim were not gay, there would be riots, fires, and marches all throughout New York City. But because he's gay, it's just another day for most folk. Even more haneous, the thought by some straight black folk thinking that "this gay man got what he deserved".
I hope to be able to make the rally at City Hall on Monday, if i can get out of work early enough.
When will these senseless hate crimes against LGBTQ members of the community end?
God rest Michael Sandy's soul.