The day before the announcement, with his fate still unknown, city officials led by Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn held a press conference at City Hall to condemn the viscous beating of Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, which police authorities say may have been a hate crime.
"We all must open our eyes to the hate that exists around us and work together to fight against those that demonize others," Quinn said. "We are all partners against hate."
Quinn urged the crime's perpetrators, who remain at large as this paper went to press, to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The NYPD has offered a reward of $22,000 for information leading to their arrests. A police spokesperson declined to say when police might issues charges in the case.
"We're still looking for the people," who committed the crime, the spokesperson said.
The assault took place at Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, according to a law enforcement official. The Ecuadorian-born Sucuzhanay and his brother were walking down the street "arm-in-arm" to support each other after a night of drinking, said an official.
A car pulled up and four assailants jumped out, yelling anti-Latino and anti-Gay epithets at the brothers. They assaulted Sucuzhanay with a baseball bat, while his brother escaped down the street. When he returned, saying he had called the police, the attackers left the scene. An official said all of the assailants were black.
"When anyone in this city is attacked because of his or her ethnicity or sexual orientation, we are all attacked," said Markowitz. "As a community, we must have zero tolerance for intolerance."
Markowitz said he was confident the police would catch the "punks" responsible, and offered consolation for the victims' family members.
"Today, our prayers go out to these victims and their loved ones," he said.