NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man was convicted Wednesday of attacking and beating two men in a Dallas BBQ restaurant in Chelsea last year.
Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin, 42, was convicted of first-degree attempted assault and second-degree assault in Manhattan Supreme Court in the attack – in which he was caught on video smashing a chair over each of the men’s heads, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
“There was no justification for this brutal attack,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a news release. “Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin struck both victims in a public restaurant with a heavy wooden chair, knocking one of them unconscious. I commend the victims for their courage and my Office’s prosecutors for ensuring this defendant is held accountable for this horrific attack.”
The attack happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at the Chelsea BBQ at 261 Eighth Ave., at 23rd Street, in Chelsea – during what was reported to be a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Witness Isaam Sharef caught the attack on video and posted it to YouTube and Instagram. The video, which has since been made private, shows Jonathan Snipes being flung to the floor and kicked as others screamed, “Stop!”
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 last year 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.
A short time after the attack, 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.”
El-Amin has 15 prior arrests in multiple states, including New York and New Jersey, Gainer reported last year. Police said those arrests were mostly for drug possession and assault.
Sentencing for El-Amin is planned for June 14.