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2 accused of hate crime at historic gay bar

By Deborah Brunswick, CNN
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Gay bar attack has community on edge
  • The attack allegedly occurred in a rest room of the Stonewall Inn
  • "I don't like gay people," the attacker allegedly yelled
  • Riots at the Stonewall in 1969 are considered the start of the gay-rights movement
  • Hate Crimes
  • LGBT Issues
  • Manhattan

New York (CNN) -- Two men have been charged with a hate crime after an attack on a gay man in the bathroom of a historic gay bar in downtown Manhattan early Sunday morning, according to Erin Duggan of the New York district attorney's office.

The 34-year old victim, whose name is not being released, was at a urinal inside the Stonewall Inn when one of the defendants allegedly asked him if he was gay, according a news release from the district attorney's office.

When the victim responded yes, Matthew Francis, 21, allegedly yelled, "Get away from me f----t. I don't like gay people." He then asked for money saying, "Give me a dollar. Give me a 20," according to the news release.

The victim refused and Francis allegedly push him to ground and punched him several times in the face and chest. The other defendant Christopher Orlando, 17, stood in front of the exit preventing him from leaving, the district attorney's office said.

Bar patrons and staff chased the suspects outside, where they were arrested by police officers who had been called to the scene. The victim suffered "substantial pain and a laceration to the head" and had to treated at a hospital, the district attorney's office said.

The defendants, both from Staten Island, have charged with assault as a hate crime and attempted robbery.

The Stonewall Inn was the site of a series of demonstrations in 1969 that were triggered when patrons fought back during a police raid. The incident is widely considered the start of the gay rights movement.