Police: LGBTQ-targeted assault in Patchogue
Couple assaulted in Patchogue Village earlier this month
After a verbal altercation, a woman walking with her girlfriend on July 7 at 3:30 a.m. just west of the Patchogue-Medford Library on Main Street was assaulted.
Kim Page, 30, of Patchogue said she had been with friends and co-workers at a bar in Patchogue prior to the assault. She and her partner decided to leave through the Roe Walkway near the Patchogue-Medford Library and Toast when four men confronted them. One of them made lewd and anti-gay comments, then pushed her girlfriend, knocking her to the ground before attacking Page. Two of the men, she said, kept walking, but another man held her girlfriend back, repeatedly pushing her to the ground to keep her from helping.
“I don’t remember much after he hit me, but I remember thinking, why is he mad at me?” she said, explaining that she is not known to be confrontational and even tried to diffuse the situation. “I also remember him standing between us and pointing to [my girlfriend] saying he wouldn’t hit her because she is a ‘whole woman,’” she added, explaining that her partner is more feminine looking.
The man, Page said, then punched her in the face, causing her eye to immediately swell and bleed. At that point, she briefly lost consciousness. After the incident, her girlfriend said the man repeatedly smashed Page’s head against the concrete until finally laying off and running away. Public safety officers pulled up in the rear of the alleyway but were unable to detain the suspects, who fled the scene. Police were contacted shortly after.
Page was transported to Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue with nonlife-threatening injuries. She suffered injuries to her head, face and knee. Her girlfriend was also treated, but more mentally shaken by the incident.
Since then the scabs have healed, but the assailants still have not been caught. After speaking with detectives earlier this week, Page said, tips have come in, but nothing that has led to anything solid. Also, she said, her girlfriend’s wrists were fingerprinted for possible identification of the man who was holding her back. Still, she has hope someone will do the right thing and come forward.
Page holds no grudge against Patchogue, her hometown, where she has lived her entire life and graduated in 2007 from Patchogue-Medford High School. Aside from catching the men who did this, she hopes to spread awareness.
“This isn’t just about the gay community, it’s also about women in general; it’s not safe for anyone with people like him on the streets,” she said. “The world needs to realize this is why we have Pride Month. I hope I can help younger versions of myself feel safe and never let stuff happen like this again. I’m not sure that will ever happen in my lifetime — but one step closer.”
She was also planning on attending the next several Patchogue Village board meetings in hopes of implementing security cameras in the walkway.
However, according to mayor Paul Pontieri, cameras have already been ordered for the library in that walkway and will be installed as soon as possible.
“That was something we have talked about doing upon recommendations from the [Suffolk County Police Department],” he said, but unfortunately, it was not done soon enough. “People have to be very careful at that time in the morning. Not everyone is out there for the right reasons,” he added, hoping Page heals. “No one should ever be abused and this should have never happened.”
During a press conference held at the New York LGBT Network in Hauppauge, held after the incident on July 10, David Kilmnick, president and CEO, said the assault was clearly a hate crime and requested anyone with information about the attacker to speak up.
“Incidents like these, unfortunately, are way too common,” he said. “We all need to take action and join together to stop them. The video is out there and we are hoping someone steps up and says something to report them so that they can be brought to justice.”
Prior to this incident, local businesses and officials received several anonymous anti-gay mailings in an attempt to prevent the first-ever Pride-themed Alive After Five from happening back in June. In response, the Suffolk County Police Department decided to up their security measures. However, the event went without incident.
“I wish I could tell you that I’m completely shocked that this happened in our own backyard, but the truth is we have a lot of work to do when it comes to protecting and uplifting all marginalized populations,” said Jacqueline Routh, chairwoman of Alive After Five. “It is not enough to be an ally, we must also aggressively condemn hate whenever it surfaces. The fight for equality isn’t over until all people can freely express themselves without fear or hesitation, and I believe that Patchogue has the ability make that happen in our community. Kimberly and her family have my full support, and I commend her for bravely sharing her story with others in order to help prevent future hate crimes in our neighborhoods.”
The suspect is described as black, wearing a red bandana, red shirt and red pants. Detectives do not believe other men participated in the assault and are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Hate Crimes Unit detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637) or by email at www.tipsubmit.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.
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