Arrest in Long Island New York City Gay Bashing of TV Chef, Two Others
Nassau County cops arrested an Oregon man Sep 12 2007 and are seeking his alleged accomplices in a vicious anti-gay-based attack on Josie Smith-Malave, 32, a former "Top Chef" reality-TV show contestant, and two other women on Long Island, New York.
Matthew W. Walli, 20, was arrested in the Sep 01 assault. Walli was arraigned on second-degree robbery as a bias crime in Nassau District Court in Hempstead, where a judge set his bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
Two other women were also attacked in the melee outside Partners, a bar in Sea Cliff. Walli's group allegedly followed Smith-Malave and some pals outside and encircled the women. During the attack, Walli allegedly stole an $800 video camera from Smith-Malave. Someone returned the camera to the bar the next day, but it no longer contained video that Smith-Malave had shot of the suspects.
Josie Smith-Malave recounted the ordeal of being surrounded outside Partners by thugs who savagely beat her, her sister, and a lesbian friend while others watched, laughed and took photographs.
"It was a very large group of young adults. I mean, they were so angry," said Smith-Malave. "I've never experienced something like that before, when you come face to face with people who are so angry."
Smith-Malave said the trouble began when she, her heterosexual sister, Julie Smith, 30, and her gay friend, Emily Durwood, 23, were asked to leave Partners on Sep 01 2007.
The three women were followed outside by "a mob of nine to 12 young adults," said a statement released by attorney Yetta Kurland's office. The group "encircled" the trio, started shouting out hateful slurs such as "fucking dykes," threw "sticks, cups and other objects" at the women, and even spit on them before the violence occurred, the statement added.
Defendant Gets 25 Years For Beating Gay Man
By Andy Newman for The New York Times
April 25, 2006
A Brooklyn man was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison for beating and stomping a gay man so viciously that he suffered serious brain damage and is partly paralyzed. The defendant, Steven Pomie, 25, had told investigators that the victim, Dwan Prince, made a pass at him on the street.
Justice Deborah A. Dowling of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn seemed aghast at the intensity of the attack as she sentenced Mr. Pomie for assault committed as a hate crime. ''Words alone should never be enough to provoke such a rage,'' she told him. ''That's never an excuse for anything.''
Mr. Prince, now 28, was a construction worker and a porter in his apartment building in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and was taking out the garbage last June 8 when Mr. Pomie walked by. Mr. Pomie told investigators that he was wearing his girlfriend's pink tank top and that Mr. Prince made some flirtatious remarks to him.
A prosecution witness testified that he saw Mr. Pomie and another man beating and kicking someone and then leaving, and that as Mr. Prince lay against a wall dazed and bleeding a few minutes later, Mr. Pomie returned and kicked him squarely in the head.
Prosecutors said that Mr. Pomie shouted antigay slurs as he delivered the beating, which an assistant district attorney, Thomas C. Ridges, called ''akin to a lynching'' yesterday.
Mr. Prince sustained a blood clot the size of a soda can on his brain and was in and out of a coma for several weeks, a doctor testified at the trial. His speech is now severely impaired, he has memory loss and other cognitive problems and he spends most of his time in a wheelchair.
''He used to swing a sledgehammer,'' Mr. Ridges said before Justice Dowling passed sentence. ''Now he can't even take care of himself.'' Mr. Ridges added that Mr. Prince, who also suffers from AIDS, tried to kill himself two weeks ago.
Mr. Prince tried to read a statement at the sentencing yesterday but found it so hard to speak intelligibly he gave it to his mother to read. '' 'I've changed so much I can't even cry,' '' his mother, Valerie Prinez, read.
Then Ms. Prinez spoke some of her own words. ''He took my son's memory,'' she said of Mr. Pomie. ''He took my son's brain. He took my son's limbs. But he could not ever take my son's soul.''
Mr. Pomie, who has previous convictions for weapons possession, attempted assault and petty larceny, continued to deny yesterday that he assaulted Mr. Prince. He apologized nevertheless.
''I'm sorry for the heartache,'' he said tearfully. ''I think about it 24 hours a day. I'm sorry, Dwan.'' Mr. Pomie has told investigators that the beating was administered by a man named Mark Taylor; Mr. Ridges said that the police were still trying to talk to him.
Justice Dowling did not appear impressed. ''Not only did you participate,'' she told Mr. Pomie, ''you delivered one of the ultimate blows to Mr. Prince.'' Under hate-crime law, Mr. Pomie must serve at least half of his 25-year sentence.
Mr. Pomie's lawyer, Kleon C. Andreadis, said he would appeal the verdict on the ground that prosecutors had failed to tell him about a statement supporting Mr. Pomie that a girlfriend had given them. She ultimately testified at the trial.
Mr. Prince and his mother wept after the sentencing. ''Hallelujah'' Mr. Prince said through sobs. He said he was in ''tremendous pain 24 hours a day.'' But he added, ''I will do the best I can to live my life.''
First an attack, now hard knocks from the real world
Months after bashing, Brooklyn man is still struggling to get by
It’s Halloween night and young ghosts and goblins are walking the streets of Maywood, N.J., looking for their treats. Aside from the occasional squeals from costumed children sharing their bounty, the night remains calm.
Dwan Prince sits in a wheelchair in his mother’s living room. He is a fan of professional wrestling and watches the television smiling. Prince’s hair is cut short, and it’s impossible not to notice the pink and white scars that cover his head. Down the middle of each are the delicate impressions left from stitches.
When Prince talks, his words emerge slowly and with deliberate labor. His days are now spent with speech and physical therapies, hoping he can get back the life he had as a construction worker before the night in early June when three men decided to get out of their car and pommel Prince, leaving him in a coma.
The attack has joined a long list of crimes against gay men and lesbians in the New York area in the past year. Prince has no memory of the attack, except what he can glean from articles about it online.
“I don’t remember anything,” he said.
When Prince’s assault first hit the newspapers, there was speculation he might have known the men who attacked him. Prince insists he does not know Steven Pomie, who was eventually arrested and charged with the crime.
Prince also points out he had no trouble with his neighbors. While only a few knew he is gay, a next-door neighbor and the super of the building, he liked his neighborhood and reports no problems. One of the reasons he’s alive today is because neighbors intervened. It is this, being alive after such a brutal attack, that Prince draws some strength on.
“I was almost dead and now I’m alive,” Prince said.
Bill collectors at bay
Valerie Prinez, Prince’s mother, also tries to gain some strength from the fact that by most odds, her son should be dead.
“Dwan has to be here for a purpose,” she said. “Dwan is a super hero and came back.”
While both try their best to keep these higher ground moments in mind, the real world keeps knocking at their door. Ever since the attack, Valerie Prinez has tried to do right by her son, get him the appropriate medical care he needs, fill out forms for social services and visit him.
She has turned into his primary caregiver. Her bank account is depleted; she filed for bankruptcy and faces eviction. She is now on unpaid leave from her employer, which is a double-edged sword. It lets her help her son, but means no money is coming in. And her employer would like her back by December.
Then there are the bureaucratic nightmares of everything from social services, food and medical care. Her job is caring for Dwan, but that does not keep the bill collectors at bay.
“If I were wealthy, we wouldn’t be having these problems,” Prinez said.
‘Who is there to protect him?’
She also points to indifference, from politicians and from her own religion. As a member of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Prinez was dismayed when her minister refused her cries for help. The reason: He found out her son is gay, and wanted nothing more to do with her.
Local politicians were helpful when the case was in the news, but once it faded, their calls ceased.
“The people don’t want to hear about it,” Prinez said.
Prince’s mother admits to being pushy and acerbic at times, but wonders what else can she do. Her son was left for dead for no reason and there is no one looking out for his interests. “Who is there to protect him?” she asks.
It is 10 p.m. and Prince, his mother and sister are now all in front of the television. A local news channel interviewed Prince earlier in the day and promised the spot would make the night’s broadcast.
The segment comes on and Prince’s face fills the TV. The reporter tells the story, and there are shots of Valerie helping Prince get into his new wheelchair. The segment ends.
Dwan, who earlier said it was hard for him to cry, puts his hand to his face and weeps. His shoulders shake and the tears seep through his hands.
His mother leaves her seat, crying too her eyes red. She hugs him and that is how they remain as the newscast moves on to the next story.
The objections voiced below are over the Phelps cult's protests at soldiers' funerals. They have been treating gay people like this for a very long time, including many protests at the funerals of gay people and people who have died from AIDS.
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