NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man wanted by police in connection with an assault in a Chelsea Dallas BBQ restaurant was ordered held on bail Tuesday night after turning himself in.
Bayna El-Amin surrendered with his attorney. He was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday evening and ordered held on $75,000 bond, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.
The NYPD says El-Amin faces assault and attempted assault charges.
Investigators say El-Amin is the man seen in cellphone video slamming a chair over the head of a Brooklyn man at the Chelsea BBQ at 261 Eighth Ave., at 23rd Street, in Chelsea back in May.
The incident happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, during what was reported to be a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Warning: Some May Find Video Disturbing
After Snipes’ partner pulls him away, the attacker raises the wooden chair and slams it down on both men’s skulls. Snipes slumps in a chair, while the other man collapses to the floor.
Sharef told WCBS 880 that Snipes was the one who initially made the argument physical. But as the fight escalated, other patrons were heard yelling for the fight to stop — with some even trying to break it up.
Police launched a hate crime investigation, looking into whether the two men attacked in the video were targeted for being gay, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
But earlier this month, El-Amin reached out to blogger Waddie Grant on his blog “The G-List” to defend his actions.
“I was the victim. I was sitting at my table. With no provocation, he came up and hit me. There was no slur thrown at him,” Grant quoted El-Amin. “There was no interaction between us in a sense, except for what I said earlier when I said to them, ‘Hey, guys! There are ladies here.’ Then he came over to me and said, ‘And YOU calling us ladies.’ Then, POW!”
Andre Paul, a friend of El-Amin’s said fear was the reason El-Amin took so long to surrender.
“the bottom line is, you know the brother — he was scared,” Paul said. “He was scared about what the media was going to demonize him as, and how things were taking place as it was snowballing; getting bigger and bigger.”
In court Tuesday, El-Amin’s attorney, Raol Zaltzberg, said his client is also very active in the LGBT community and is an advocate for gay rights,. He serves as an HIV counselor and a high school mentor, the attorney said.
El-Amin plans to press charges against Snipes and the man he was with, the attorney said. An order of protection has been issued, and El-Amin has been ordered to stay away from the two men.
El-Amin has 15 prior arrests in multiple states, including New York and New Jersey, Gainer reported. Police said those arrests were mostly for drug possession and assault.