BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
A Long Island man has been arrested after he allegedly shouted homophobic slurs and attacked two transgender women outside a McDonald’s in Jackson Heights on Friday, police said.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., Long Island’s Patrick O’Meara, 38, approached the two transgender women in front of a McDonald’s on 82nd Street, allegedly drunkenly calling the women “b—-es” and “f—–ts” as they were trying to enter the chain restaurant, which is located near the 7 train subway station.
O’Meara then allegedly punched one of the victims in the face, causing pain, swelling and bleeding and kicked the other to the ground, leaving her with an ankle injury, and then temporarily fled the scene before returning with a cane, police said.
O’Meara allegedly struck one of the victims with the cane and when the woman tried blocking O’Meara with her left hand, she suffered a laceration.
The women were both taken to Forest Hills Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries.
O’Meara was arrested later that day and charged with assault as a hate crime. He was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Saturday and is being held on Rikers Island in lieu of $5,000 bond or $2,500 bail, police said.
Western Queens community leaders said they were outraged by the alleged attack.
“My heart is with the survivors of this cruel and disgusting hate crime and we stand with them in solidarity,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “We will never tolerate acts or words of violence against the trans community anywhere in our city and we will continue to rally and fight until all members of the LGBTQ community can live without fear for simply existing.”
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Elmhurst), who represents the neighborhood in which the incident took place, said that he represents the most diverse and inclusive district, leaving no room for discrimination.
“It is very sad and unfortunate that we are experiencing a spike in hate crimes and this is something I will not tolerate,” Peralta said. “This was a horrific crime, perpetrated against New Yorkers because of their gender identification. It is my hope that the suspect, who was arrested, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Upon hearing about the incident, Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said that he immediately recalled the 1990 death of Julio Rivera, who was punched, clubbed and hammered to death in Jackson Heights due to his sexuality.
“Almost 27 years later and we’re still fighting to be safe in our own communities,” Dromm said. “It’s terrible that it’s happening again and that sadly we’re still dealing with this. It’s just horrifying, but we will continue to speak out and stand up for our transgender community.”
O’Meara is due back in court on March 31.
According to police, O’Meara has been arrested nine times, with his most recent arrest having taken place in January when he allegedly stole a Volvo in Manhattan while he was drunk.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org