I first broke the story that Damian Furtch had been gay bashed in New York city last weekend. I posted the shocking pictures of his face which went viral on the internet. I admire Damian for coming forward with his story. The video has been released of Damian being attacked and now, the main suspect has been apprehended and in a shocking twist he claims ‘I’m gay too”

Twenty-one-year-old Anthony Bray, a homeless man, gave himself up to police after a witness fingered him. He claims Furtch was being disrespectful towards Bray and his friend instigated the attack. Is this simply a tactic to avoid the compounding charges of a hate crime? And how does Bray, aleging he is gay, change the story, and in particular charging him with a hate crime??

First view the assault video here

According to “A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability.”

Laws vary by state and if hate crimes are provided for by statute, the definitions of hate crimes and penalties imposed vary. States, Like NY, that have hate crime statutes provide harsher penalties for such offenses.

Orlando criminal defense Attorney Brad Conway, who has worked on the Casey Anthony and Tiger Wood’s case weighs in; “The basis for criminally charging a hate crime lies in the defendants motivation for committing the violent act. The defendants assertions that he himself is gay does not protect him from prosecution under New York’s hate crime statute. Where the evidence shows that the defendants sole motivation for beating Mr Furtch is based on the victims sexuality, it makes no difference that the defendant claims he himself is gay.”

This takes the burden off prosecutors having to put the defendants sexuality on the stand – having to prove that he is gay. It becomes irrelevant at trial and may not even be admissible in front of a jury.

So, for discussion sakes what if they both were black? If a black man beats another black man and uses racial slurs can he be charged with a hate crime??

Midwin Charles, a criminal defense attorney of her own law firm and a legal commentator based in NY City says: “If a victim is targeted because of their race, gender, national origin or religion, they will be charged with a hate crime”

But to me, the issue becomes complicated because in black culture its socially acceptable to call each other the “n” word, and that would make the argument as to wether it was a hate crime or not more difficult in court. What could be argued in Furtch’s case is that the motivating factor in the attack wasn’t because he was gay, it was because the attacker was upset with comments Furtch allegedly made to him inside the Mcdonalds.

The details of what happened to Damien Furtch that night are still being pieced together as part of an ongoing investigation – so we don’t have all the facts. But the video very clearly shows Bray senselessly attacking Damian Furtch. My experiences covering crime has shown me that violent people are repeat offenders. Rarely is this type of violence an isolated incident. It’s probably not Bray’s “first time at the rodeo of violence” so to speak. just look at his criminal record which includes busts for marijuana, graffiti and robbery . Usually the violence escalates with each new attack so I say keep bray off the streets now. The next person who rubs him the wrong way late one night – gay or otherwise – may not be as ‘lucky’ as Damien Furtch – if you call 2 black eyes and a broken nose lucky.

here’s how Damian looks today



  1. Also how Furtch looks today. Hamming it up a bit? Or making the best of it? Anyway, there are several possibilies here : Damian Furtch is the completely innocent victim of two heterosexual “thugs” who disliked what they saw of his “effeminacy” and Bray’s claim of also being gay is a lie; or it was some attitude thrown back and forth in the McDonald’s between Furtch (an out-of-towner) and Bray (a new York-native tough “homo-thug”); or any variations of those and a hundred possibilities in between. this is why witnesses (McDonald’s patrons) would be so important if it went to court.

  2. @MJ: THE FLICKR PHOTOS you are referencing were taken three day after the attack ….so they are no quite “what i look like today”. However taken to make teh statement that even with black eyes and a broken nose, eccentricity is still very much a part of my life!!!

    photos by the talented vito fun …a friend and supporter!

  3. I dont think its right for anyone to use violence to solve any sort of dispute. i think both of the men had negative words inside the McDonalds. on the tape you can clearly see the victim running his mouth before he got clocked in his face. the defendant was clearly not having it. i dont believe this is a hate crime what so ever. I agree that its comes down to two men having a fist fight. even tho there was slurs used i dont think the defendant set out to attack someone that was gay there has to be something missing from the story!!!! the “victim” appears to be much bigger and stronger then the attacker thats why i believe that something had to happen to make the defendant beat the shit out of the large giant! just a thought. this case is very interesting and i cant wait to see how this ends.

  4. @ Trina-You seem very sure of yourself, how are you so convinced words were exchanged in McDonalds? Were you there? And you “don’t believe this a hate crime what so ever” ?? Well last time I checked, 2 men yelling “faggot” as they catch a stranger (a gay man) off guard and break his nose, that’s a hate crime in my eyes.

    These people did not know each other prior to this fight. And in regards to your stating that the victim was clearly “running his mouth” before he got punched, Damian clearly stated that the one guy was repeatedly asking if he had a problem. Plus Damian was on the phone at the time. So yes, it makes sense that he would be responding to what was happening in a verbal manner, to go out of your way and say he was “running his mouth” is a very negative implication that is worded to favor your bizarre opinion that Damian is lying about the facts of what happened that night.

    So feel free to share your opinion, just be more careful about how you word things, because you really have no idea what you’re talking about.


    @Trina email me id love to clarify any detail that are missing from “YOUR OPINION”. : ) spread love and peanut butter!!!

  6. My gut tells me to agree with Trina. But I also understand that, as writer Anais Nin said, “We see things not as they are, but as WE are.” The fact that I’m a New York native (homo, yes), with an intense dislike for gay out-of-towners who move here, is no doubt playing into how I think. I’d hope, if I was ever picked for a jury, I could be robotically fair as far as weighing the evidence. Then again, I’d probably never get picked for the jury.

  7. You have Kobe Bryant shouting out the word Faggot…then again with the jets guy and David Tyree speaking out against Gay Marriage…and of course you have Tracey Morgan being downright hateful against gays and there are no ramifications. Even the sight of Weiner’s Weiner has brought down a Congressman. Are people that afraid of Gays in this day and age? Well Marc Freden, too, has been given pause with the issue. As a gay man, even he feels the need to apologize for the blatant use of the word “Faggot” in his new book “REALLY!?!” Now Freden using the “F” word should get a tacit pass…much like black people using the “N” word to describe themselves. His harmless use of the word…(And you must read the book to understand) has lead him to a video mea culpa on YouTube “Marc Freden Must Apologize to the Gay Community”. Furthermore, Freden has pledged that if Kobe Bryant can be fined $50,000 then he too should pay a price. A percentage of every book sold as a result of his apology will go to the Trevor Project – a gay hotline for distressed teens looking for a voice of calm and understanding. It is the least he can do. Who will join Freden in this cause?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s