Dorian Block, New York Daily News, November 4, 2007
Residents of Howard Beach, Queens, rallied Saturday night to demand that five black and Hispanic youths busted in the beating of a white teen be charged with hate crimes.
“Enough is enough,” more than 150 people shouted as they marched down 157th Ave. near Wednesday night’s attack, which left 16-year-old Joseph Friedman with seven staples in his head.
It is unclear how the violence began Wednesday, but the five suspects, all from Brooklyn, have been charged with assault, menacing and weapons possession. Witnesses gave conflicting accounts of whether the young men came at a group of white teenagers with sticks or whether the white youths first hurled eggs and racial epithets.
Police sources said the Hate Crime Task Force has located several witnesses who heard anti-white statements made before the attack.
Five black and Hispanic young men from Brooklyn were charged Friday with assaulting and menacing white teens in Howard Beach, Queens, on Halloween night.
Exactly what sparked the racially charged melee was unclear, but Joseph Friedman, 16, who is white, ended up with seven staples in his head after being hit so hard with a broom handle that it broke, authorities said.
Some witnesses said whites hurled eggs or epithets at blacks sometime in the evening, and others said the black teens yelled racial slurs at the whites.
The NYPD is still investigating whether to upgrade the charges to hate crimes.
Several witnesses said several black and Hispanic kids, some carrying sticks, appeared on Cross Bay Blvd. about 10 p.m. They chased a group of white teenagers into a McDonald’s near 160th Ave., where insults became punches, witnesses said.
But one defendant, Terrance Scott, 18, said it was the other way around. He said he was minding his own business with his cousin when about 100 white kids chased them.
“They called me n——-,” he said. “I just crossed the street and they started chasing me. Gunshots rang out. Then we got stopped by police.”
“They’re not from the neighborhood. They came here to beat white kids up,” said the mother of one of the white teens. “If this wasn’t a bias incident, then I have to jump off the Cross Bay Bridge.”