A gay couple living in the Bronx said no to homophobic hate and harm. And when that wasn’t enough, they fought back.
According to the New York Daily News, 27-year-old Kelson Akomolafe and 30-year-old Edward Hoard were attacked in the Mott Haven section of New York City’s Bronx borough on July 7. Akomolafe and his boyfriend were attacked around noon at the corner of Third Avenue and Brook Avenue. The two were walking to a doctor’s appointment when two men confronted them.
“I was going to this clinic right here with my partner and then boom, all of this happened,” Akomolafe stated on a Facebook Live video moments after the attack. “We just came out of the street and this guy starts saying something like, Ooh, we know you’re gay.”
The men then started calling Akomolafe and Hoard anti-gay slurs like the Jamaican slang “batty men.”
Then as Akomolafe recalls, “I said, ‘Do you know this guy?’ He said ‘No,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, let’s keep walking.’ All of a sudden… the guy pulled up a knife trying to rob me of my bag… so I put him on the ground…”
In the Facebook Live video, blood spatter on the ground can be seen around the couple. Akomolafe also recounted that the attacker who pulled out a knife also grabbed his bag. Thankfully, Akomolafe was able to subdue the armed man while Hoard subdued the other. Unfortunately, Akomolafe’s finger was cut and his phone was damaged in the process.
As Gay City News reports, the two attackers were later identified as 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue and 28-year-old Trevel Parris. Both were charged with menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, robbery, assault, and harassment. The last three were charged as hate crimes as well. Then Bellevue gained an additional harassment stalking charge.
After arresting him, police recognized Bellevue as a recent victim of an illegal chokehold by a police officer near Rockaway Beach. The officer, David Afanador, was the first cop to be charged by the new chokehold law dubbed the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act. Bellevue is also believed to have a history of mental health issues.
Another issue with the case is the fact that, after arriving at the scene, police thought Akomolafe was one of the attackers. They then handcuffed him with Bellevue and Parris.
“I was detained for the first time in my life,” said Akomolafe. “I was just lucky not to be shedding tears. After all of this, how can I have handcuffs on my hands? The procedure was overwhelming.”
Akomolafe was eventually released, but he and Hoard remaiend at the station for hours. They were later allowed to leave after answering the police’s questions.