Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Police allege hate crime in Duval St. beating

Two New York men in Key West for a wedding became victims of what police called a hate crime when a man on the 500 block of Duval Street accosted them, battering one and threatening the other.

The victims, who are boyfriends, told police the assailant made specific reference to their sexual orientation.

Injuries to John Sutter of Brooklyn were minor, but he said the emotional impact might be worse.

"Absolutely it was a hate crime," Sutter said Wednesday by phone in New York. "He explicitly said the reason he was doing it was that we were disgusting." Sutter was walking with his arm around his boyfriend, Nicholas Leddy, about 2 a.m. Saturday.

"A clean shaven man with short dark hair, who was approximately 5'9" and in his 20s, wearing a black hoodie, came up behind them," the police report says.

After calling the men "faggots," the report says, he punched Sutter in the neck. Sutter struck back, but the suspect got him in a headlock and continued punching him, also banging his head to the ground, the report says.

Leddy and a passing woman pulled the suspect off Sutter. The suspect has not been identified but police are checking video from nearby businesses.

That the incident occurred in gay-friendly Key West, where the victims had come to witness the marriage of two New York men at the Hemingway House, made it particularly troubling, Sutter said.

"That was one of the most surprising things," Sutter said.

jdesantis@keysnews.com

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