A group of Trump supporters attacked New York City queer activists in a late night hate crime, targeting them for being liberals and speaking out on the street. Four activists were seriously injured in the assault, which sent the victims to the hospital with broken noses, damaged knees and worse.
The group, Decolonize This Place held a party to celebrate the end of the group’s residence at Artists Space in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. Among other causes, these activists have been valiant supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and active in assisting injured activist Sophia Wilansky, who lost most of her arm to police brutality during the recent standoff in North Dakota.
Ten of the activists were leaving the party to get something to eat. They left and were walking down the street chanting Occupy Wall Street protest chants like, “Armed Queers bash back” and “Ole Ole Ole Ole, Fuck Trump, Fuck Trump” chants to the tune of the popular soccer cheer. That’s when a group of five men left a nearby bar and began walking in parallel on the other side of the street. The Trump supporters confronted the group in the middle of the street and wouldn’t let the activists cross the street according to victim Christian Valencia. When the Trump supporters got close they started yelling, “Trump Trump Trump Trump” over and over again.
Words were exchanged, and the biggest Trump supporter threw the first punch, “It became a shitshow.” activists Peter Soeller told us that, “most of us were just trying to pull the big guy off of Colin Ashley because he was getting wailed on by the big guy.” According to Soellers, it was a big, white guy who started the violence, and he was wearing a “Blue Lives Matter” bracelet.
The men shouted to “get out of our country” and called the activists “faggots” and “Commies” when they attacked. Soellers believes that the attack specifically targeted those in the activist group who are queer. Another witness confirmed that it was a hate crime in a Medium post that has since gone viral. A New York arts newsletter and website HyperAllergic reports:
The four or five Trump supporters then approached the group, according to [Michael] Basillas, and one of the men, who appeared to be white, showed them his Blue Lives Matter bracelet and, according to Basillas, he “then started pointing out the queers in the group” and making homophobic comments. Pointing to one member, Basillas said, the man said: “That one looks like a faggot.” Basillas said it was very clear the men in the group of aggressors were homophobic.
Four of the activists were seriously injured in the attack, the rest were scattered, or pushed away, thrown to the ground but not injured, and Christian Valencia said that some of them ran back to Artists Space to get help. When they returned the Trump supporters turned and ran down the street, to get away from the scene of the crime.
By then an NYPD police van rolled up on the scene and spoke briefly with the Trump supporters fleeing to escape notice. But the officers didn’t detain the men, who then departed. The activists tried to speak with the police officers about the assault they’d just suffered, but the officers didn’t want to take a report and told them to get off the sidewalks and to return to Artists Space for which they did. The officers hung out outside for a few minutes and left without taking a report.
After the attack, Soeller went to the hospital and x-rays confirmed that his nose was broken, all of the activists took photos of their injuries. He’s the least injured member of the group. Christian Valencia was injured in the attack said on the phone that he’s still “walking with crutches, though the swelling began to go down today.” He was tackled and his knee injured hitting the pavement, causing him to visit the emergency room in the afternoon. Sunday morning with permission from the group, Soeller posted those photos onto Facebook yesterday and they’ve since gone viral.
Members of white supremacy neo-nazi movement and man’s rights activists saw the post, put it into a large “Men’s Rights” Facebook group. Since then, Trump’s troll army has made Peter Soeller’s digital life a miserable mess, spamming every single public social media post they could find. Literally, it fried his cell phone with excessive notifications on Twitter and Facebook.
Soeller spotted a single Facebook group post into a fairly large group saying, “This is the biggets [sic] beta cuck ever. Troll on” which he presumes started the online harassment, but has been unable to find another thread on Reddit or 4chan or somewhere else Trump’s basket of trolls gathers. Valencia said that because he doesn’t keep a lot of public social media profiles, he didn’t catch the brunt of the online harassment campaign. “They probably also didn’t like the whole ‘Richard Spencer of the Dark Left’ thing,” said Soeller on Facebook, referring to a joke he placed into his profile, trolling the white supremacy neo-nazi group’s leader.
Soeller says that the victims haven’t filed a police report on the matter because they’re concerned that one of the attackers may have been a member of NYPD or an NYPD relative since he was wearing a pro-police bracelet that not many non-officers might have.
NYPD has a terrible human rights track record and allowing the goons who perpetrated this attack to leave freely damages all citizens’ faith in fair law enforcement and equal protection under the law, which is a civil right.
This attack is yet another shameful instance of violence and hate crimes by Trump supporters which is going unpunished under the watchful eyes of America’s police authorities.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.