Press conference called by Anti-Violence Project regarding alleged anti-gay violence by NYPD

Via press release:

The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) will hold a Press Conference on Tuesday, June 11th at 2 pm in response to a bias-motivated assault of Josh Williams, Ben Collins, and Antonio Maenza, three openly gay men in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn on Sunday, June 3rd by New York Police Department (NYPD) officers.

The survivors reported that they were walking past the 79th Precinct when an NYPD officer accused one of the men of public urination and attacked him, throwing him against a police car. The officer was joined by other officers who also attacked the man, throwing him to the ground and pepper spraying him while he was in handcuffs. The survivor was handcuffed tightly, causing lacerations.

The survivor’s injuries were treated at a hospital, where he was again restrained with wrist and ankle cuffs. The group of officers also arrested the other two survivors.


Police Violence is a pervasive problem facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in New York City.

AVP found that in 2012, nearly 40% of survivors interacting with the police in New York City reported police misconduct.

Reports of police misconduct increased significantly from 8 in 2011 to 78 in 2012. The report also found that survivor reports of hostile attitudes from police doubled in 2012, with 43 reports, up from 21 in 2011.

Tomorrow’s Press Conference will highlight these findings and the issue of police violence affecting our LGBTQ communities.

The Village Voice has a lengthy recounting of the incident:

Williams’ ordeal began as the three men walked past the 79th Precinct stationhouse at 263 Tompkins Ave. Williams told his roommates he needed to take a piss, but they told him to wait as they were almost home. An officer standing in the precinct parking lot shouted at them, asking if he had just urinated on the building. Williams said, “no.”

“The officer shouted, ‘Did you really just piss on the precinct?'” Collins says. “Josh says no. The officer didn’t go over and check whether the building had actually been peed on.”

The officer called them over. Williams and Collins complied, and the officer asked for their ID cards. Collins asked whether they were being detained. “He rolled his eyes and sort of snapped, twisting an arm behind my back and slamming me against a car,” Williams says. “I was able to ask him what was going on, and he slammed me against the car and pepper sprayed me. I was blinded and disoriented.”

Collins: “He put his hand on Josh’s neck and pushed his face into the hood of the car twice and pepper sprayed him. Josh never tried to resist or run away.”

Williams says he remembers then being tossed against a fence and then a number of officers putting their hands on him. “I get slammed to the ground and cuffed and then pepper sprayed again. I remember yelling, ‘why are you so angry?’ From there I don’t remember much.”