Queens councilman Daniel Dromm, along with Joseph Sokolowski and his husband, Jeremy Valarezo, claim that the owner of a smoke shop in Queens, Mohammed Hoque, should have been charged with a hate crime as opposed to a desk appearance ticket for two misdemeanor charges says The Daily News.
Sokolowski and his husband, Valarezo, claim both of them were called them the F-word among other epithets.
The assault was not caught in the video although you can clearly hear Hoque say to “get your f******g bulls**** f*****t a**” out of the store,” in the video posted by Dromm on Twitter below.
WATCH: Village Moon tattoo parlor manager calls local residents, a married gay couple, “faggots” then punches one of them. We will not let this stand! Queens must remain a safe place for LGBTQ+ people.— Daniel Dromm (@Dromm25) January 21, 2019
Anti-hate rally tomorrow, 10am. pic.twitter.com/be9ejHPn3u
Both men seem to have escalated the encounter unnecessarily but police who arrived on the scene arrested Sokolowski on a felony criminal mischief charge, and he was held overnight until his arraignment.
The charge was subsequently knocked down to a misdemeanor.
Dromm called for an anti-hate rally that occurred yesterday.
“No information was provided at the time to indicate this was a hate crime,” Sgt. Brendan Ryan of the NYPD told the News, adding that police are still probing the incident.
“The hate crime task force is aware of the video and is looking into the matter,” Ryan said.
“We are disappointed that the NYPD did not prosecute this as a hate crime even though they were shown the video that clearly indicates the manager of Village Moon outright calling Jeremy and Joseph f—ts,” Dromm said at the rally just outside the shop Tuesday. “This is not acceptable in our community.”
He added: “The use of the F-word will no longer be tolerated or no longer be let go without some type of a community response,” Dromm said. “That’s why we’re here today.”