SandyDEVELOPING STORY – Black SGL and LGBT organizers and activists will hold a rally today to demand an end to hate violence in the city and to hold city leaders accountable. The rally is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Monday, October 18 at New York City Hall. The rally is being sponsored by People of Color In Crisis, the New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent, the New York City Anti-Violence Project and the National Black Justice Coalition.

Michael Sandy, the 29-year-old black gay man who was attacked in a vicious gay bashing last Sunday, died on Friday after his family decided to remove him from a life support respirator that has kept him alive since his attack.

John Fox, 19; Ilya Shurov, 20, and Gary Timmins, 16 are charged with assault and robbery as a hate crime. According to news reports New York City Police said Friday afternoon that the charges will be upgraded to include murder.

The Hate Crime against Michael Sandy

According to police on Sunday night, Oct. 8, 2006, Fox and Shurov posed as gay on an internet chat room for gay men looking for a mark to rob. They lured Mr. Sandy to a parking lot near Sheepshead Bay, sandwiched between Plumb Beach and the Belt Parkway in New York. Chat messages between Sandy and the men were reportedly found on his home computer and a printout from his computer showing directions to Plum Beach, a popular cruising area, were found in his car.

Michael was robbed and beaten by four men. Somehow during the attack he was able to break free and was chased onto the Belt Parkway, where he was struck by a car and critically injured. He never regained consciousness from his massive injuries.

On yesterday, three Brooklyn men were charged with hate crimes in connection with the attack while a fourth suspect has yet been charged. All of Mr. Sandy’s attackers were white and it is still unclear if he was also targeted because of his racial identity.

The alleged attackers say that they are heterosexual, and have made incriminating statements to police, even suggesting they had tried to lure and attack gay men online in the past, Newsday reports. Several witnesses have already been interviewed by investigators from both the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force and the local detective squad.

Mr. Sandy, was slightly over 5-foot, 7-inches tall and weighed 145 pounds. On Thursday, October 12, 2006 Michael turned 29 years old. He was an interior designer who worked for IKEA.

"How many more black gays and lesbians have to be beaten, killed or attack in New York before we rise up and do something about it?" noted author and NBJC founding Board President Keith Boykin asked in a  written statement. "After Kevin Aviance, Rashawn Brazell, Dwan Prince and Sakia Gunn, we have a responsibility to speak out on their behalf."

NBJC has launched a crime watch and anti-defamation e-hotline. If you have information about a hate crime or anti-gay activity or just want to get involved email us at stop-the-hate@nbjc.org.

The National Black Justice Coalition is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia.