Gay man gets 9 years in prison for chair assault on gay couple in restaurant

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On Thursday, a gay man was sentenced to up to 9 years in prison for assaulting a gay couple with a chair at a restaurant in New York City.

Bayna-Lehkeim El-Amin, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, said that his race was a factor in the attack and that the couple were the aggressors in that situation.

“They walked up to me, pulled out a weapon and struck me,” El-Amin said. The weapon was a purse which Jonathan Snipes hit El-Amin with because he thought he heard a gay slur.

“This incident was started by . . . two drunk, white men that felt they were entitled to come and swing at me for no reason,” El-Amin said.

However, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Goldberg felt that race had nothing to do with it, telling El-Amin:

I know you want to cast this as an issue about race, I just do not see that there is any evidence of that. When you picked up the chair, that was a criminal act, that cannot be excused.

The ruling is in line with what Prosecutor Leah Saxtein said during the trial, that being hit with a purse and yelled at was no excuse for beating anyone with a chair.

The victims were Ethan York-Adams and Jonathan Snipes. Surveillance video shows that Snipes hit El-Amin with a bag after he thought he heard the use of a homophobic slur.