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3 indicted on two separate hate crimes cases

By Deborah Brunswick, CNN
Two men are accused of attacking a man in the restroom at The Stonewall Inn in Manhattan.
Two men are accused of attacking a man in the restroom at The Stonewall Inn in Manhattan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two men accused of attacking a man at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan on October 3
  • In a separate case, a man has been indicted in an attack eight days later at another gay bar
  • Such attacks "threaten entire communities in New York City," Manhattan DA says

New York (CNN) -- Hate crime and robbery indictments were brought Tuesday in two separate incidents in which suspects allegedly targeted gay men for violence at Manhattan gay bars.

Two men were accused of attacking a man in the bathroom of the Stonewall Inn, an iconic gay bar in downtown Manhattan, on October 3, according to a release from the New York district attorney's office.

Matthew Francis, 21, and Christopher Orlando, 17, both from Staten Island, were charged with two counts of attempted robbery as a hate crime and one count of assault as a hate crime. In addition, Francis was charged with one count of criminal possession of a weapon.

A 34-year old victim, whose name is not being released, was at a urinal inside the bar when one of the defendants allegedly asked him whether he was gay, according a news release from the district attorney's office. When the victim responded yes, Matthew Francis, 21, allegedly yelled, "Get away from me f----t. I don't like gay people." He then asked for money, saying, "Give me a dollar. Give me a 20," according to the news release.

The victim refused and Francis allegedly push him to ground and punched him several times in the face and chest.

The other defendant Christopher Orlando, 17, stood in front of the exit preventing him from leaving, the district attorney's office said.

Bar patrons and staff members chased the suspects outside, where they were arrested by police officers who had been called to the scene. The victim suffered "substantial pain and a laceration to the head" and had to be treated at a hospital, the district attorney's office said.

The Stonewall Inn was the site of a series of demonstrations in 1969 that were triggered when patrons fought back during a police raid. The incident is widely considered the start of the gay rights movement.

An additional indictment Tuesday came in a separate, similar incident a little more than a week later.

Frederick Giunta, 25, of Queens, New York, has been charged with attempted robbery and assault as a hate crime.

Giunta is accused of stealing an unnamed victim's wallet on October 11. That same day, he allegedly made racist and anti-gay comments and struck a second unnamed victim in the face at Julius, another popular gay club in the West Village area of Manhattan.

"Attacks such as these not only harm individual victims, they also threaten entire communities in New York City," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement Tuesday. "We created the Hate Crimes Unit to identify and then to build strong cases against those who commit bias crimes. New York City's diverse populations deserve our respect and protection," he said.

Attorneys for Francis, Orlando, and Giunta have not yet responded to requests for comment from CNN.

CNN's Kristen Hamill contributed to this report

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