NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are looking for a suspect who allegedly attacked a 22-year-old man inside a fast food eatery in Manhattan that has been the scene of several violent incidents in the past.
The incident occurred around 7 p.m. Wednesday inside the McDonald’s on West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue in the West Village.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
Jamar McLeod got into a verbal argument with the suspect after he made anti-gay remarks about the eventual victim’s transgender girlfriend, Jalisa Griffin, police said.
“He’s like, ‘Hey mister, you don’t belong in there,’” McLeod told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider on Friday night.
“When I decided to go to the bathroom he said, ‘Sir, the men’s bathroom is over here,'” Griffin told CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian earlier in the day.
Griffin said she ignored the slur but the taunting continued.
“He was like do you want to fight? He wanted to fight me and my boyfriend said ‘I’m not going to let that happen, you come through me’ and he was like ‘I’m coming,'” Griffin said.
The argument quickly escalated into a physical altercation during which the suspect took out a razor blade and slashed McLeod on the elbow, face, back and neck, police said.
“I don’t know where the blade came from,” McLeod said.
“He just starts slicing, like out of nowhere,” Griffin added.
McLeod was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he received stitches for his injuries.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: It’s Not The First Incident At This McDonald’s
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called the attack extremely upsetting and completely unacceptable.
“The 6th Precinct is aggressively looking for this perpetrator with the Hate Crimes Task Force and you can rest assured the police will apprehend this perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Quinn said. “We’re just not going to tolerate this kind of behavior.”
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports
The West Village eatery is where many gay, lesbian and transgender young people hang out at night, and that’s why leaders at the New York City Anti-Violence Project said they are pushing city officials to open safe spaces and community centers for these youth.
“If people understood how dangerous it was for LGBT youth in New York City, they would be outraged and they would do something about it,” the Anti-Violence Project’s Sharon Stapel told CBS 2’s Schneider.
Griffin told CBS 2’s Dardashtian the senseless hatred nearly killed her boyfriend, adding she wishes it would stop.
“I live my life as a normal life. I take care of my responsibilities. I work my job and for you to treat me like that when I didnt do anything, it’s not fair,” Griffin said.
And while McLeod is permanently scarred now, physically and emotionally, he said he’s also pleading for tolerance.
“I think there should be more unity no matter what you choose to do in your life,” McLeod said.
The suspect is believed to be 35 to 40 years old, about 5-foot-10 and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
Earlier this year, officials had called for security increases at the McDonald’s following a series of violent incidents over the past few years.
On St. Patrick’s Day, a large fight erupted on the sidewalk outside the restaurant that featured plenty of tackling, choking and kicking.
Last October, the McDonald’s was the scene of a violent incident involving two female customers and a male cashier. The two women were seen jumping over the counter after some sort of dispute before the cashier grabbed a metal rod and struck the women. No charges were filed because a grand jury said the cashier acted in self-defense.
Last March, a 26-year-old man was beaten outside the restaurant by two suspects who also shouted anti-gay slurs at the victim, police said.
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