NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are investigating a possible hate crime in Jackson Heights, Queens.
The NYPD says two men eating together were beaten up at a restaurant.
The pair tell CBS2 they were eating at a restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue when a group of men started yelling anti-gay slurs at them.
The men say they’re angry workers didn’t step in to help, but the restaurant has a different story.
Alberto Cruz had to receive stitches for his wounds.
“A lot of blood,” the 36-year-old said.
“My nose is still broken,” said Daniel Domienguz.
The two men who are roommates say they were eating at Pollos Mario around 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 12 when a group of guys started yelling anti-gay slurs at them.
“Everything happened so fast from one minute to another we were surrounded by all of them. They hit me first. They hit me with a bottle or glass,” said Domienguz.
“It’s scary because five people around table so obviously they’re going to do something,” Cruz added.
They allege none of the restaurant workers stepped in to help them.
Domienguz says he has pictures and videos of the men but police told him not to share anything yet. People with the restaurant say they have video too.
“You guys are not getting the whole story and I think it will come out,” said Jackeline Franco, an employee at Pollos Mario. “You cannot start something and then victimize yourself for it.
“The manager tried to stop the fight multiple times,” she said.
They too say they’re not allowed to share video yet.
Outside the restaurant, LGBTQ activists and other community organizations gathered including the newly created Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes in New York City.
“We will not tolerate discrimination particularly against the LGBTQ community,” said Deborah Lauter, executive director of the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes.
Activists are calling for more resources to train local businesses on how to de-escalate situations like this confrontation.
“I’m still scared and nervous,” said Domienguz.
The group of men fled after the alleged attack. An investigation by the city’s hate crimes task force is still ongoing.