Some on the left blamed LGBTQ hatred and homophobia for acts of vandalism against a gay club in New York City, but police arrested a suspect who said he was himself gay.
Surveillance video showed a man wearing glasses walking up to VERS, a gay bar in the Hells’ Kitchen neighborhood, and tossing a brick at one of the windows while patrons looked on.
Police said there were a total of four incidents of vandalism against the same bar over a period of a month. They later posted a video of the suspect from inside a bodega in the nieghborhood.
The owner of the bar implied that the incidents were tied to hatred of gay people.
“There’s a lot of heightened fear in the community from attacks happening all over the country and we just want to make sure that we’re providing a safe space,” said David DeParolesa to WNBC-TV.
In an article at Gothamist, the attitude of the police was criticized because they weren’t taking the incident seriously enough as a possible hate crime.
DeParolesa told the outlet that he told a police officer they might have been targeted because they were a gay bar, and the officer replied, “Well you can’t know that.”
The owner was annoyed that the police response was so nonchalant.
“It’s typical that we, as gay people who have spaces we’ve created, have to protect ourselves,” he added. “I’m not defeatist. In fact, I’m more emboldened than ever.”
However, some on social media were skeptical. After seeing the video of the man throwing the brick, comedian Theo Vonn responded, “that form tell u its a inside job” in a tweet that garnered more than 303k likes.
On Tuesday, police ruined the homophobic narrative when they arrested 34-year-old Sean Kuilan, who identified himself as a gay man.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said that Kuilan told them he was “exacting revenge” on the gay bar on behalf of a female friend of his who was in a feud with the business.
“As of right now we don’t have any reason to believe it is [a hate crime],” Essig said.
Police have only charged Kuilan with three of the four vandalism incidents because there’s no video of the fourth incident. He was charged with three counts of criminal mischief, three counts of reckless endangerment, and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
“I’m gay myself,” Kuilan said to reporters as he was escorted by police into court.
Here’s more about the incident:
Video Captures Man Throwing Brick At NYC Gay Bar