One man is in jail on Rikers Island and another in Virginia, for the hate crime beating of an openly-gay College Point man, who is on a respirator after days in a medically induced coma in New York Hospital Queens.
A surveillance video recorded at about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 8, shows Jack Price, 49, being chased by two assailants and beaten to the ground, then kicked and punched repeatedly.
Daniel Rodriguez, 21, of 56-02 215th Street in College Point, was apprehended by U.S. Marshals on Tuesday, October 13, at the home of a relative in Norfolk, VA. He is being held in connection with the assault, pending extradition to New York.
Daniel Aleman, 26, of 18-04 College Point Boulevard, was arrested on Sunday, October 11. He is charged with second degree assault as a hate crime – increasing the possible prison sentence from seven to 15 years. Judge Robert Raciti set bail at $40,000.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Price went to the 24-hour deli-grocery store on 18th Avenue and College Point Boulevard to buy a pack of cigarettes.
As Price – who is 5’6” tall and weighs about 130 pounds – entered the store, the two allegedly yelled an anti-gay slur and repeated it twice when he left. The men then punched Price repeatedly – and stomped and punched him after he fell to the ground, DA Brown alleged.
The camera, one of several recently installed by the College Point Board of Trade, captures two men leaving Price collapsed, and then returning to rifle his pockets and further assault him.
Price managed to stagger and crawl some 11 blocks to his home, where he called 9-1-1. He was rushed to the hospital with injuries including two collapsed lungs, all of his ribs broken, a lacerated spleen and shattered jaw.
He reportedly told family members about his ordeal from his hospital bed before lapsing into unconsciousness. “Look what they did to him because he is gay,” his sister-in-law reportedly said.
Surgeons had to operate on Price’s spleen and put a metal plate in his jaw, according to reports.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly called the crime “despicable” and said “He was attacked simply for his orientation and we aren’t going to tolerate it.”
There can never be true justice for Jack Price,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who praised Kelly, detectives from the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit, federal Marshals and Norfolk Police for “the excellent work of the men and women” involved.
“I have the highest respect for Queens District Attorney Brown, and I know he will prosecute these offenses swiftly, sending the message that our city’s commitment to tolerance will not be tarnished,” Bloomberg said.
. In an official statement, the board said that the cameras were installed “in a number of businesses to deter graffiti through a grant obtained by Senator Frank Padavan. In this case one of those surveillance systems captured this crime.”
“It’s indicative of why we need more police protection,” said Howard Haider, spokesperson for the Board of Trade. “People hang out in front of the store all night – he [the deli man] tries to move them along – but what can you do?”
The 5’9”, 145 pound Aleman was arrested last December for fare-beating and could have gone to jail for a year. That case was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal in January.
“The neighborhood has gone down – big time,” said Raj, a 23-year resident of the neighborhood, who did not want to give his name. “It used to be very nice here, but in the last nine years some people moving in to College Point have brought drugs and prostitution.”