News (USA)

Four men charged in hate crime attack on two men they thought were gay

Four men charged in hate crime attack on two men they thought were gay

NEW YORK — Police in Long Island have arrested four men accused of an anti-gay attack over the weekend in which they severely beat two men while using homophobic slurs.

Suffolk county police have charged Gregory Gilbert, 20, of Oceanside, Shawn Buckley, 18, of Oceanside, and Nicholas Battaglia, 18, of Oceanside, with two counts of assault in the third degree as a hate crime and gang assault in the second degree.

Suffolk County Police
Clockwise from top left: Gregory Gilbert, Shane Buckley, Justin Buckley and Nicholas Battaglia are charged with attacking two men while using anti-gay slurs in Suffolk County.

In addition, Justin Buckley, 17, of Oceanside, was charged with two counts of a assault in the third degree as a hate crime.

In the incident early Sunday morning in Babylon, N.Y., police say the four suspects stopped to ask the as yet unidentified victims for directions to the train station, reported WCBS-TV.

They then allegedly began punching, kicking and shoving the victims while uttering slurs.

One of the victims was reported in serious condition with unspecified injuries, while the other was treated and released.

Dr. David Kilmnick, CEO of the Long Island GLBT Services Network, called the attack “disturbing and frightening.”

“Many people think that just because we are winning the right to marry in many states, that the world has changed and everything is now okay for gay people. This incident reminds us that we need to be vigilant in combating hate and homophobia,” he said, in a statement.

The suspects were due for arraignment on Monday.

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