Teens beat up Williamsburg man in anti-gay bias crime
By Aaron Short
The Brooklyn Paper
Mar 17 2011

Photo by Aaron Short

A group of teenage thugs viciously assaulted a Brooklyn man in Williamsburg last month because they thought he was gay.

Barie Shortell, 29, was on N. Fourth Street on Feb. 22 at around 10:10 pm when he brushed past six teenagers wearing hooded sweatshirts.

“Oh shit, is that a guy or a girl?” one of the teens yelled. Shortell thought to himself that the slur was “juvenile,” but he crossed to Wythe Avenue just to be safe.

But the group followed and shoved Shortell against a wall, fracturing his jaw, nose and eye sockets. He has no recollection of the attack.

“I feel pretty confident they perceived me as a gay man and attacked me, but I can’t understand why they did what they did,” said Shortell. “I looked horrible. Blood was everywhere.”

Shortell was taken to Woodhull Hospital, where surgeons operated for nearly 10 hours resetting his jaw and putting three metal plates in his head. A surgeon compared the force of impact to that of a car accident.

Police closed the case initially, but classified it a hate crime after the Anti-Violence Project interceded.

But no arrest has been made.

Shortell, who does not have medical insurance, remains focused on his recovery and his medical debts — which could cost $100,000. His friends have already organized a fundraiser for him next week.

“Gay Bash: A Benefit for Barie Shortell,” at Blackout Bar [916 Manhattan Ave. at Kent Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0254], March 23, 7:00 p.m. Admission, $35. For info, www.bariebenefit.com.

©2011 Community Newspaper Group