The owner of a gay bar in NYC says his establishment has been attacked multiple times in recent days, but said police appeared disinterested in investigating.
David DeParolesa, the owner of VERS gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen (@versnyc), told the Gothamist an unidentified man has thrown bricks at the windows of his bar three times in the last week, and four times overall. The most recent was the first time the brick thrower was caught on video.
When DeParolesa reported the incident to police, though, he said they appeared dismissive and even tried to dissuade him from contacting the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force.
“They weren't seemingly interested in investigating it at the moment,” DeParolesa told the Gothamist. “They were really nonchalant.”
He said police did not ask for a copy of the surveillance tape and when DeParolesa speculated to police VERS could have been targeted because they are a gay bar, he claimed one of the officers told him “Well you can't know that.”
Police confirmed they are investigating reports from the scene, but declined comment on potential hate crime implications.
\u201cThis man has thrown bricks at the window of @versbarnyc FOUR times in recent weeks. These are hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. Please help us identify him. If you have any information, please contact @NYPDHateCrimes at email@example.com or 1-888-440-HATE.\u201d
— NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher (@NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher)
Out gay City Councilmember Erik Bottcher, who represents Hell’s Kitchen, told Gothamist the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force should have been immediately notified of the attack. He posted video of the attack to his social media and asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect.
“They should've been connected to the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force after the first brick,” Bottcher said. “That clearly didn't happen here, and we need to find out why that is and make sure it doesn't happen again.”
“We urgently need to find this person before they escalate their attack or set their sights on our peers in the community,” DeParolesa told Newsweekof the man responsible for the recent attacks on VERS. “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, and we want to do everything in our power—right now—to keep other bars and queer spaces in the neighborhood safe.”
Anyone with information the attacks can contact @NYPDHateCrimes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-440-HATE.