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Suspected V. Stiviano attacker charged with hate crime and assault

By Joe Sutton and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
updated 1:04 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
After a recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/28/us/clippers-sterling-scandal/'>making racist remarks was released in April 2014</a>, he was <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/29/us/clippers-sterling-scandal/'>fined and banned</a> from NBA games for life. But he's not the only well-known figure who has served as a lighting rod for discussion on race and identity. After a recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks was released in April 2014, he was fined and banned from NBA games for life. But he's not the only well-known figure who has served as a lighting rod for discussion on race and identity.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Charges filed against one man
  • The man turned himself in to police, NYPD source says, and later was ID'd by V. Stiviano
  • Police had spoken to the Long Island man the night of the alleged attack
  • V. Stiviano says two men yelled at, hit her

(CNN) -- A Long Island man has been charged after V. Stiviano identified him as one of the men who punched her outside a New York hotel this weekend, according to police.

Dominick Diorio, 40, faces charges of assault as a hate crime, assault, harassment and aggravated harassment, police spokesman Brian Sessa told CNN.

Diorio had surrendered earlier to police.

Stiviano, whose audio recording of Donald Sterling ranting against African-Americans led to his NBA lifetime ban, filed a formal police complaint Monday in the alleged assault.

Stiviano told police she was with her sister and a friend at Revel restaurant when a group at another table called her a prostitute and shouted slurs at her, the NYPD official said. Stiviano and her sister exchanged words with the group.

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When Diorio now in custody allegedly put his cell phone near Stiviano's face to snap a photo, she knocked the phone out of his hands and walked out of the restaurant, the police official said.

Stiviano told investigators that she and her sister were followed by the group as they walked to the Gansvoort hotel to hail a cab, the official said. Video obtained by police showed the women were followed by two men and a women from outside the restaurant to the hotel.

Outside the hotel, the official said, Diorio allegedly directed more slurs at Stiviano, who got into a cab with her sister. One man held the cab door open, while the other yelled at her and punched her in the face. The man who held the door then spit at her, the official said.

Stiviano and her sister left the cab and got into a shoving match with the two men, the official said. Witnesses told police that Stiviano and the men were in a fighting stance when both men threw punches at her.

Two other men intervened and broke up the fight.

Security at the Gansvoort called police, the official said. When officers arrived, one of the men who attacked Stiviano was bleeding. He said he had fallen to the ground.

A witness provided police the name of one of the attackers, who was located in a Facebook photo of the group from Sunday.

The group was out celebrating the suspect's 40th birthday, according to the law enforcement official.

Police also identified the second man and were trying to locate him.

The blows from the attack left the right side of Stiviano's face red and swollen, her attorney, Mac Nehoray, said.

"We understand that there are now two videos of the assault that have been located," her lawyer's office said in a statement. "In addition, several witnesses have been come forward with relevant and critical information regarding the facts surrounding the incident and the identity of the assailants."

The assault came after video surfaced on TMZ that showed Stiviano making disparaging remarks about African-Americans. "I don't understand black people. You give them a little bit of money, they don't know what to do with it," she says in the video that purportedly dates back to 2011 as part of a reality show pilot, TMZ said. CNN reached out to Nehoray for comment on the video but has not received a response.

Earlier, Stiviano recorded inflammatory remarks by Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, which spawned outrage among NBA fans, players and executives.

In the recording, Sterling chastises Stiviano for posting pictures online of herself with African-Americans, including NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson. He tells her not to bring Johnson to Clippers games.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league, fined him $2.5 million and pushed through a charge to terminate all of his ownership rights in the franchise.

Sterling sues NBA for $1 billion as questions over his mental state loom

CNN's Rande Iaboni and Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

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