BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Police are seeking five persons of interest for questioning in connection with an assault on a vendor during Gay Pride festivities in Washington Square Park on the evening of Sun., June 27.
On that day around 10:20 p.m., according to cops, a group of individuals approached a 65-year-old vendor as he was working at a food truck at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Washington Square North just outside the park and engaged in a verbal dispute with him.
The dispute escalated, at which point the victim was pushed, punched in his face and had bottles thrown at him. E.M.S. responded and transported the victim to Bellevue Hospital where he was treated for a cut to his head and facial injuries.
According to the victim’s daughter, who spoke to the New York Post, and a source close to the Sixth Precinct, who spoke with The Village Sun, the elderly vendor suffered a broken nose.
As for what triggered the violence, there have been various accounts. Some reports said the group asked the vendor to replace an American flag on his food cart with a Gay Pride rainbow flag but he refused. Others said the vendor hurled a slur. Another version said someone asked the vendor for some free ice but he said no.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Samy, a vendor who mans an ice cream truck at the spot and who was involved in trying to defuse the attack, told The Village Sun it was over a bunch of stolen bottles of Gatorade. He said the vendor protested and tried to get back the drinks but should have just let it go.
“Then, five minutes after, I see the World War II,” Samy said, speaking the next night.
According to Samy, the older vendor, who does not speak English, was also hit in the face with a thrown can or water bottle. Photos and video show the vendor reeling, his face covered in blood, as a group of police move in to protect him.
Samy said that, at one point, revelers were jumping on top of his ice cream truck.
“Brother, they had more than five people on top of my truck, for like 10 minutes until they came down,” he recounted.
He said, though, instead of being confrontational, his approach was to come out and party with them until they came down, “and then I get the hell out of there.”
Police ask that anyone with information about the assault call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. All tips are strictly confidential.